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BARRIERS TO SCHOOL INCLUSION:
AN INVESTIGATION INTO THE EXCLUSION OF
DISABLED STUDENTS FROM AND WITHIN
NEW ZEALAND SCHOOLS

A thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of


Doctor of Philosophy in Education

at Massey University, Palmerston North,


New Zealand

Alison Claire Kearney

2009
i
ABSTRACT
______________________________________________________________________
Research evidence suggests that disabled students are experiencing forms of exclusion
from and within schools, however little is known of the nature of this phenomenon. This
study investigated the nature of school exclusion in relation to disabled students. It
sought to uncover the factors that exclude disabled students from and within schools,
and make recommendations to reduce and eliminate these factors.

Using a grounded theory methodology, this research investigated the nature of school
exclusion. It explored parents of disabled students views about their childrens
experiences of school exclusion both from school, and within school. The themes
identified by parents were then further investigated with school principals, teachers,
teacher aides and school students.

This study revealed that disabled students are being excluded from and within school in
New Zealand in a number of ways. These include being denied enrolment and/or full-
time attendance at school; being denied access to, and participation within the
curriculum; being bullied; inappropriate teacher and/or principal beliefs and practices in
relation to funding; a lack of caring, valuing and responsibility by school staff; limited
teacher knowledge and understanding; poor relationships between parents and school
staff; and exclusionary beliefs and practices in relation to teacher aides.

Based on the findings of the study, four propositions were put forward to explain why
disabled students are being excluded from and within school. These are that disabled
students are considered to be less entitled to human rights than non-disabled students;
that there is a lack of school accountability in relation to legal and human rights
obligations to disabled students; that inclusive education is predicated on issues of
funding and resourcing; and that there is prejudice towards disabled students.

Based on the findings of how and why disabled students are excluded from and within
school, prompts for classroom teachers and school principals/senior management staff
were developed in seven areas shown to be important to this phenomenon. These areas
are access, accountability, attitudes, knowledge, responsibility, and funding and

ii
resourcing. The prompts are intended to help guide attention and discussion to the
issues that are important if exclusion is to be reduced and eliminated. As well as this,
recommendations are made for government and government agencies outlining ways
that they can contribute to the reduction and elimination of school exclusion for
disabled students.

iii
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
______________________________________________________________________

I wish to express my gratitude and deep respect to all the parents who participated in
this study. Their strength, tenacity and endurance inspired me. Thanks also to the
principals, teachers and students who gave so willingly of their time.

I also wish to express sincere appreciation and gratitude to my research supervisors,


Associate Professor Jill Bevan-Brown, Dr Roseanna Bourke and Professor Ruth Kane.
Their expertise, helpful criticism and unstinting support assisted me greatly in this
research. Thanks also to my colleagues for their friendship and support, especially
Philippa Butler, Dr Valerie Margrain and Gillian Hammond for their editing and proof
reading expertise; and Dr Janis Carroll-Lind for her words, and acts of encouragement.

To Chris, Dan and Jonathon. I am aware that over the period of our lives together, I
have been involved in study of one kind or another. Thank you for your indulgence,
love and support.

iv
v
TABLE OF CONTENTS

Abstract ii
Acknowledgements iv
Table of contents vi
List of tables x
List of figures xii

CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION


1.1 Introduction 1
1.2 Research Aims and Objectives 2
1.3 Rationale for the Study 2
1.4 Context of the Study 3
1.5 Terminology and Inclusive Education 12
1.6 The Place of the Researcher 13
1.7 Summary 14
1.8 Organisation of the Thesis 15

CHAPTER TWO: LITERATURE REVIEW


2.1 Introduction 17
2.2 Research Questions 17
2.3 Literature Review Methods 17
2.4 What is Exclusion? 19
2.5 Human Rights 24
2.6 Exclusion: Influencing Factors 27
2.7 The Voice of Parents 48
2.8 Summary 51

CHAPTER THREE: METHODOLOGY


3.1 Introduction 53
3.2 Research in the Area of Inclusive Education 53
3.3 Qualitative Research 55
3.4 Theoretical Framework 57
3.5 Research Ethics 66
3.6 Research overview 72
3.7 Summary 72

vi
CHAPTER FOUR: METHODS
4.1 Introduction 75
4.2 Phase One 75
4.3 Phase Two 77
4.4 Phase Three 81
4.5 Summary of Data Gathering Methods Across all Phases and Rationale for
their Use 83
4.6 Data Analysis 84
4.7 Ethical Considerations 87
4.8 Summary 91

CHAPTER FIVE: RESULTS


5.1 Introduction 93
5.2 Phase one: Parent Questionnaire Results 93
5.3 Phase one: Parent Interview Results 105
5.4 Phase Two: School Principal Questionnaire Results 118
5.5 Phase two: School Principal Interview Results 129
5.6 Phase three: Teacher Interview Results 150
5.7 Phase Three: Teacher Aide Focus Group Results 159
5.8 Phase Three: Student Focus Group Results 163
5.9 Additional Information 168
5.10 Summary 170

CHAPTER SIX: DISCUSSION


6.1 Introduction 175
6.2 How are Disabled Students Being Excluded? 175
6.3 Why are Disabled Students Being Excluded? 195
6.4 Summary 210

CHAPTER SEVEN: CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS


7.1 Introduction 213
7.2 Conclusions from the Study 213
7.3 Reducing and Eliminating School Exclusion 216
7.4 Further Research 222
7.5 Contributions to Knowledge 223
7.6 Limitations of the Study 224
7.7 Final Words 225

vii
REFERENCES 227

APPENDICES 247

Appendix A: Advertisements
Appendix A1: Phase one advertisement for parent newsletters/magazines 247

Appendix B: Information Sheets


Appendix B1: Phase one parent interview information sheet 248
Appendix B2: Phase one child interview information sheet 250
Appendix B3: Phase two school principal questionnaire information
sheet 252
Appendix B4: Phase two school principal interview information sheet 254
Appendix B5: Phase three teacher/teacher aide interview information
sheet 256
Appendix B6: Phase three parent of focus group student information
sheet 258
Appendix B7: Phase three student focus group information sheet 260
Appendix B8: Phase three teacher aide focus group information sheet 262

Appendix C: Questionnaires
Appendix C1: Phase one parent web questionnaire 264
Appendix C2: Phase two school principal questionnaire 270

Appendix D: Interview Schedules


Appendix D1: Phase one parent interview schedule 278
Appendix D2: Phase two school principal interview schedule 280
Appendix D3: Phase three teacher interview schedule 282
Appendix D4: Phase three teacher aide focus group interview schedule 284
Appendix D5: Phase three student focus group interview schedule 285

Appendix E: Consent forms


Appendix E1: All phases parent/principal/teacher interview consent
forms 286

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Appendix E2: Phase one child interview consent form 287
Appendix E3: Phase three teacher aide focus group consent form 288
Appendix E4: Phase three parent consent form for child focus group
participation 289
Appendix E5: Phase three student focus group consent form 290

Appendix F: Letters
Appendix F1: Phase one letter to parents requesting follow-up interview 291
Appendix F2: Phase one letter to parents with copy of interview
transcript 292
Appendix F3: Phase one letter to parents providing results of phase one 294
Appendix F4: Phase two letter to principals requesting completion of
questionnaire 301
Appendix F5: Phase two letter to school principals requesting follow-up
interview 302
Appendix F6: Phase two letter to school principals with copy of
interview transcript 304
Appendix F7: Phase three letter to school principal requesting school
participation 305
Appendix F8: Phase three letter to school Board of Trustees 307
Appendix F9: Phase three letter to potential teacher participants 310
Appendix F10: Phase three letter to potential teacher aide participants 312
Appendix F 11: Phase three letter to parents of potential focus group
students 314
Appendix F 12: Phase three letter to interviewed teachers returning
transcript 315

Appendix G: Transcribers confidentiality agreement 316

Appendix H: Information for parents of support groups and services 317

Appendix I: Digital Narrative Phase one 318

ix
LIST OF TABLES
Table 2.1 Key words for literature review 18
Table 3.1 Overview of the research project 72
Table 4.1 Geographical location of parent research participants 76
Table 4.2 Principal questionnaire: Background information of research
participants 78
Table 4.3 Principal interviews: Geographical location of research participants 80
Table 4.4 Summary of data gathering methods and rationales over all phases 84
Table 4.5 Example of data analysis taxonomy 87
Table 5.1 Parent questionnaire: Main area of impairment 94
Table 5.2 Parent questionnaire: Present level of schooling 94
Table 5.3 Parent questionnaire: Most common barriers experienced 95
Table 5.4 Parent questionnaire: Most powerful barrier experienced 96
Table 5.5 Parent questionnaire: Issues associated with abuse and/or bullying 97
Table 5.6 Parent questionnaire: Issues associated with teacher knowledge
and/or understanding 98
Table 5.7 Parent questionnaire: Issues associated with enrolment and
attendance 99
Table 5.8 Parent questionnaire: Issues associated with curriculum access and
participation 100
Table 5.9 Parent questionnaire: Issues associated with physical segregation 101
Table 5.10 Parent questionnaire: Issues associated with communication 102
Table 5.11 Parent questionnaire: Issues associated with funding 103
Table 5.12 Parent questionnaire: Issues associated with value placed on child 103
Table 5.13 Parent interview: Issues associated with knowledge and/or
understanding 106
Table 5.14 Parent interview: Issues associated with curriculum 108
Table 5.15 Parent interview: Issues associated with behaviour towards parents 109
Table 5.16 Parent interview: Issues associated with enrolment and attendance 112
Table 5.17 Parent interview: Issues associated with abuse and/or bullying 113
Table 5.18 Parent interview: Issues associated with lack of caring and valuing
of child 115
Table 5.19 Parent interview: Issues associated with funding 117
Table 5.20 Principal questionnaire: Knowledge and/or understanding 119

x
Table 5.21 Principal questionnaire: Curriculum 121
Table 5.22 Principal questionnaire: Behaviour towards parents 121
Table 5.23 Principal questionnaire: Enrolment, participation and segregation 122
Table 5.24 Principal questionnaire: Abuse and bullying 123
Table 5.25 Principal questionnaire: Caring and valuing of child 124
Table 5.26 Principal questionnaire: Funding 125
Table 5.27 Principal questionnaire: Teacher aide 126
Table 5.28 Principal questionnaire: What is important for inclusive education? 127
Table 5.29 Principal questionnaire: What is the most important factor for
inclusive education? 127
Table 5.30 Principal interview: What inclusive education means 130
Table 5.31 Principal interview: The barriers/enablers to inclusive education 132
Table 5.32 Principal interview: Teacher knowledge and understanding 136
Table 5.33 Principal interview: Behaviour towards parents 137
Table 5.34 Principal interview: Enrolment attendance and segregation 139
Table 5.35 Principal interview: Abuse and bullying 141
Table 5.36 Principal interview: Caring and valuing of disabled children 142
Table 5.37 Principal interview: Funding 145
Table 5.38 Principal interview: Teacher aide 147
Table 5.39 Teacher interview: Background information 150
Table 5.40 Teacher interview: What inclusive education means 151
Table 5.41 Teacher interview: The barriers/enablers to inclusive education 152
Table 5.42 Summary of phase one findings 171
Table 5.43 Summary of phase two findings 171
Table 5.44 Summary of phase three findings 173
Table 5.45 Summary of additional findings 173
Table 7.1 Key areas for consideration 216
Table 7.2 Access prompts 217
Table 7.3 Attitude prompts 218
Table 7.4 Knowledge prompts 219
Table 7.5 Accountability prompts 219
Table 7.6 Responsibility prompts 220
Table 7.7 Funding and resourcing prompts 220

xi
LIST OF FIGURES
Figure 3.1 The basic elements of the research process 57

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xiii
CHAPTER ONE
INTRODUCTION

Inclusive education is an unabashed announcement, a public and political


declaration and celebration of difference[However,] it would appear that the
development of education systems has been predicated by the denial of the
existence and value of difference Turning this around is not a project for
osmosis. It requires continual proactive responsiveness to foster an inclusive
educational culture. Further, it means that we become cultural vigilantes.
Exclusion must be exposed in all its forms; the language we use, the teaching
methods we adopt, the curriculum we transmit, the relations we establish within
our schools (Corbett & Slee, 2000, p. 134).

1.1 Introduction
This is a study of exclusion. It is an investigation of the factors that exclude disabled
students from, and within schools. It is a study of exclusion as it works against inclusive
education. Inclusive education is a phenomenon that is gaining world-wide focus and
attention and has been described as a social movement against exclusion in education
(Slee & Allan, 2005). It has as its focus, the restructuring of mainstream schools so they
are better able to respond to the diversity of all students (UNESCO, 2005). In this
regard, inclusive education is not concerned with remediating perceived deficits within
students. Nor is it concerned with the integration or assimilation of diverse students into
regular schools (Ballard, 1999a; Barton, 1999; Slee, 2001a). Rather, inclusive education
is concerned with overcoming the barriers to participation and learning that may be
experienced by students, particularly students who have historically been excluded or
marginalised from school (Mittler, 2000). A basic premise of inclusive education is that
all children belong at school and all children are able to meaningfully participate and
learn at school. While inclusive education is concerned with making schools more
responsive to all students, disabled students are reported to be the largest group of
students excluded and marginalised from quality education in the world today
(UNESCO, 2005). It appears therefore that disabled students are experiencing many
barriers to their presence, participation and learning at school and little is known of the
specific nature of these barriers.

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1.2 Research Aims and Objectives
This study explores the barriers that prevent children and young people who are
disabled1, or who experience difficulties with learning and behaviour2, from actively
participating and learning in school. When children and young people encounter
barriers to their participation and learning at school, they experience exclusion.
Therefore this study is an examination of the nature of school exclusion of disabled
students. The research aims to uncover the factors that act to exclude disabled students
from and within school and provide some answers to the question of why this may be
occurring. It also aims to make recommendations that may reduce the exclusion of
disabled students from and within school.

1.3 Rationale for the Study


In New Zealand, disabled students are experiencing barriers to their inclusion in schools
(Ballard, 2004b; MacArthur, Kelly, Higgins, Phillips, & McDonald, 2005; Purdue,
2004). This is despite legislation designed to protect their rights to access mainstream
education and participate and learn without discrimination. It is despite human rights
and social justice arguments, despite research showing the benefits of mainstream
education, and it is despite strong pressure from disabled students parents to include
their children. Lack of inclusion in the face of such compelling legislation and research
indicates that strong forces are present, working against the inclusion of disabled
students.

However, while there is a growing body of literature focused on inclusion and the
enablers to inclusive education, only recently have researchers begun to focus on
exclusion as an important concept to be investigated in relation to inclusive education.
A major rationale for this has been the realisation that inclusion and exclusion are
directly and intricately linked. To contribute to the movement towards creating more
inclusive schools, more information is needed regarding exclusion; that is an

1
Throughout this thesis, the term disabled is used in line with the New Zealand Disability Strategy
which defines disability as the process which happens when one group of people create barriers by
designing a world only for their way of living, taking no account of the impairments other people have
(Minister of Health, 2001, p. 10). The exception to this will be when quoting or discussing the work of
other authors.
2
The term disabled will also be used to include students who are disadvantaged because of impairments
or disadvantaged because they experience difficulties with learning and behaviour.

2
uncovering and unpacking of the forces that are working against the presence,
participation and learning of disabled students in mainstream schools.

1.4 Context of the Study


The last 150 years have seen marked changes in the education of disabled students in
New Zealand. As underlying beliefs and assumptions regarding disabled people and the
role of schools in relation to them have changed, so too have practices. This has seen an
evolution from little or no education provisions for disabled children and young people,
to segregated systems, to systems of integration in regular schools, and more recently,
towards systems of inclusive education.

In order to understand the nature of these changes, an explanation of the systems of


special education and inclusive education is required with reference to the New Zealand
situation. This is important, for as Armstrong, Armstrong and Barton (2000) point out,
an historical perspective in relation to the inclusion and exclusion of disabled students
will be a timely reminder that current practices are neither natural, inevitable or
unchangeable (p. 3).

1.4.1 Special Education


Special education developed in New Zealand, and world wide, as a system to meet the
educational needs of disabled children, or children deemed to have special needs. It
began from a basis of charity (Mitchell 1987), but was later accepted as a responsibility
of government. By the 1970s, New Zealand had a firmly established special education
system made up of special schools and classes, along with specialist positions and
organisations. However, in the 1970s, the appropriateness of separate systems of
education for disabled students began to be challenged, at first from the perspectives of
human rights and effectiveness (UNESCO, 2005), then latterly, from a challenge to the
knowledge base of special education as well as the social, cultural and political reasons
for its existence.

With regard to the effectiveness of special education, the seminal report of Dunn (1968)
showed that students with mild and moderate impairments made just as much progress,

3
or more, in regular class settings as they did in special classes. Dunn found that the
labelling of students that occurred in segregated settings had a detrimental impact on
their self-concept and their teachers expectations for their achievement. In addition, a
disproportionate number of ethnic minority students were in special education and
Dunn believed that special education was a system of segregation for ethnic minorities.
Numerous studies followed pointing to the negative effects of segregated settings and
the positive outcomes of well-supported inclusive settings for students who were
disabled (e.g., Brinker & Thorpe, 1984; Madden & Slavin, 1983).

The formation of advocacy groups made up of parents, professionals and disabled


people themselves was another impetus for change (Salend, 1998). Parents of disabled
children began calling for equal access to regular education for their children (Lipsky &
Gartner, 1996) demanding the same rights as non-disabled peers. Similarly, disability
advocacy groups were formed to lobby for the rights of people who were disabled,
including school age children. In New Zealand, The Intellectually Handicapped Society
(IHC) was one of the first groups to lobby for the rights of children who were disabled.
In 1960, The IHC made a submission to the Minister of Education asking that the same
educational facilities available to non-disabled students also be made available to
disabled students (Sleek & Howie, 1987). Advocacy of this nature by IHC has
continued, and the organisation still advocates for the rights of disabled children and
young people to attend their local neighbourhood school.

Challenges to special education were also influenced by political rationales. While it


was widely accepted at the time that separate facilities and services were designed in the
best interests of students who were disabled, this rationale was later scrutinised and
questioned. For example Skrtic (1991, p. 24) defined special education as the
profession that emerged in 20th century America to contain the failure of public
education to educate its youth for full political, economic, and cultural participation in
democracy. Ballard (2003b) reported a similarly sceptical view of the rationale for
special education in New Zealand stating that: special education exists to cater for
children who are deemed sufficiently different that they do not belong within ordinary
school settings alongside others from their community (p. 6). Moore et al. (1999), took
a comparable view describing the development of special education in New Zealand as
an implicit contract (p. 7) between regular and special education where regular

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education would support special education and, in return, special education would
protect regular education from troublesome students.

Criticism of special education was also levelled around its role in protecting the
interests of non-disabled people. For example, Barton (2000) describes special
education as:
a means of control, a means of legitimating the dominant forms of discourse and
interests of a given society, in particular a world of marketisation,
competitiveness and selection. It makes sure the system continues as smoothly
as possible by removing those difficult, objectionable and unwanted people to
other spheres. It is however, often justified on the basis of being in their
interests, of meeting their needs (p. 53).

Special education was also challenged in relation to its ideology (e.g., Ballard, 2004b;
Ware, 2004). Critics pointed out that special education was constructed upon a belief
system of individual pathology, ideas about what is normal and abnormal, theories of
deficit, and the belief that only expert teachers can know about, and meet the needs of,
students who are disabled (Ballard, 1990). This medical model ideology was linked to
the phenomenon of exclusion of disabled students. For example, Booth and Ainscow
(1998a) argued that this ideology led to exclusion and segregation because it assumed
that children who were disabled were deficient and therefore required special and
different forms of education. Corbett and Slee (2000) concurred stating that: A great
deal of theory and practice which forms the special educational tradition is essentially
disablist, compounding the patterns of educational and social exclusion we witness in
schools and communities (p. 143).

Based on these criticisms and challenges, calls were, and still are, being made for an
education system based on an inclusive ideology.

1.4.2 Inclusive Education


Early definitions of inclusion focused on the valuing and acceptance of difference and
the rights of all students to not only attend their local neighbourhood school, but also to
belong as valued members. This aspect of inclusive education still remains a core

5
feature of many explanations. However, as the idea of inclusive education evolved,
explanations also included a focus on contextual issues, at first the school context. For
example Skrtic (1991) pointed out that inclusive education does not focus on the student
per se, but rather the emphasis is on the regular education programme and organisation.
More recently, the focus has been on the social, cultural and political aspects of
education and the effect of these on the inclusion and exclusion of children and young
people. For example:
I view inclusion as a social justice project that begins with understanding how
exclusionary we are in schools and in society, how we are sanctioned to
maintain exclusion, and how we are rewarded to remain exclusionaryall of
which suggests that deconstruction would be the most useful tool for analysis
(Ware, 1999, p. 43).

While many writing in the field of inclusive education would agree upon some
descriptors of inclusion and inclusive education, it remains a complex and contradictory
concept. One of the reasons for this is the competing discourses used to explain and
describe the concept of inclusive education. One such discourse has it roots in special
education and has been described by some as simply a transfer of special education
knowledge, language and practice into regular education, under the guise or name of
inclusive education (Slee, 2001a, 2007). Generally, this perspective still adheres to
many of the principles and practices associated with special education. Corbett and Slee
(2000) describe this perspective in the following way:
Inclusive schooling according to traditional special educational perspectives is
seen as a technical problem to be solved through diagnosis and remedial
interventions. Typically, this generates policies whereby the expert professions
are called in to identify the nature and measure the extent of disability. This is
followed by highly bureaucratic ascertainment processes where calculations of
resources, human and material, are made to support the locating of the disabled
child in the regular school or classroom (p. 143).

An alternative discourse is one that focuses on the restructuring of mainstream schools


so that they are better able to respond to the diversity of all students (UNESCO, 2005).
From this perspective, inclusive education does not focus on the remediation of
perceived student deficits, or on preparing students to be able to meet the demands of

6
the regular education system. At a school and classroom level, inclusive education
implies that all students are able to attend their local neighbourhood school and that all
children are the responsibility of the classroom teacher who works in collaboration with
parents, caregivers and a range of professionals. It also implies that schools rethink their
values, and organisational curriculum and assessment arrangements to overcome
barriers to learning and participation for all students (Mittler, 2000).

Most writers in the area of inclusive education would agree that inclusive education is
not an end point, it is a process. In this study, the use of the term inclusion and inclusive
education will be based on the work of Booth (1996) who describes inclusion as a
process of increasing participation of students within and reducing their exclusion from,
the cultures curricula and communities of neighbourhood centres of learning (pp. 34
35).

1.4.3 Legislation, Policy and Inclusive Education


Few would argue against the importance of policy and legislation in creating inclusive
education systems. However, the success of inclusion requires much more than policy,
rhetoric and legislation. Attitudes and philosophies are key prerequisites of successful
inclusive schools (Berres, 1996). However, policy and legislative changes in relation to
the rights of students who are disabled have been lobbied and fought for in New
Zealand and this has contributed to the change necessary for the growth of inclusive
philosophy and practice. Also, it has been noted that policy and legislation can bring
about the alterations in attitude that may be necessary for successful innovation and
change (Sleek & Howie, 1987).

Prior to 1989, there was no law in New Zealand protecting the right of disabled students
to attend their neighbourhood school. The 1989 Education Act was the first legislation
to guarantee that right. Section 8 of the Act states that people who have special
educational needs have the same right to enrol and receive education at a state school as
people who are not disabled. Similarly, The 1993 Human Rights Act is legislation that
protects the rights of students who are disabled in law. Section 57 of this act makes it
illegal for schools to deny enrolment to a student on the basis of a disability or to treat
students who are disabled less favourably than students who are not disabled.

7
In 1996, the New Zealand Government introduced a document called Special Education
2000 (Ministry of Education, 1996). While originally described by the Ministry of
Education as a policy, this was later changed and called a funding framework, due to
recognition that the document did not present principles and directions to guide practice
as would be expected in a policy. In the main, the document set out resourcing
provisions, including a package of professional development. The funding allocation
was based around the level of need of the student as opposed to a category or label.
Students verified as having high or very high needs receive individual funding and
individual teacher time. Students who have moderate needs access a school-based
funding pool. The document outlined the aim of achieving a world class inclusive
education system over the next decade (Ministry of Education, 1996, p. 2).

However, it is not just policies and official government documents targeted at inclusive
education that are able to bring about, or act as barriers to inclusive education systems;
other education and social policy can shape inclusion (Booth, 2000a). One such
example of policy that is designed to facilitate a more inclusive society in New Zealand
is The New Zealand Disability Strategy (Ministry of Health, 2001), which was
introduced in 2001. It was described by the Minister for Disability Issues as a long
term plan for changing New Zealand from a disabling to an inclusive society (ibid, p.
7). It was developed in consultation with disabled people as well as the disability sector
in general, and outlines 15 objectives for advancing New Zealand towards a fully
inclusive society. While all the objectives are indirectly related to the inclusion of
disabled students in mainstream schools, one is particularly relevant. This objective is
to provide the best education for disabled people (Ministry of Health, 2001, p. 18)
There are eight actions associated with this objective that are to inform the New Zealand
Disability Strategy implementation work plans to be developed by government
departments.

More recently, the New Zealand Ministry of Education released its Statement of Intent
20072012 (Ministry of Education, 2007a). In it, the Ministry states its commitment to
implementing the New Zealand Disability Strategy pointing out that:
the incorporation of the NZ Disability Strategy throughout the education system
is necessary to achieve the vision of the strategy which is to ensure that people

8
with impairments can say they live in a society that highly values our lives and
continually enhances our full participation (p. 38).

To do this the Ministry of Education states that significant changes across the education
system will need to occur.

1.4.4 Human Rights and Inclusive Education


Inclusive education has been described as an issue of human rights (Daniels & Garner,
1999), and also an issue that lends itself easily to international human rights
declarations (Artiles & Dyson, 2005). At the core of inclusive education is the 1948
Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), which states that:
Everyone has the right to educationand that education shall be directed to the
full development of human personality and to the strengthening of respect for
human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding,
tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups and shall
further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace (Article,
26 Universal Declaration of Human Rights).

Since the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, there have been other important
human rights declarations with specific relevance to inclusive education. The 1989
United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCROC) states that all
children have a right to receive education without discrimination on any grounds. While
every article in the UNCROC pertains to disabled children, specifically, article 23 states
that: disabled children should enjoy a full and decent life, in conditions which ensure
dignity, promote self-reliance and facilitate the childs active participation in the
community (Article 23).

The 1994 Salamanca Statement and Framework for Action on Special Needs Education
(under the aegis of UNESCO) outlined the rights of all children to access education in
the regular school environment and the responsibilities of school systems to
accommodate all students. Recently, The United Nations have developed The
Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), which New Zealand

9
signed in March 2007. It reaffirms that all persons irrespective of any impairment must
enjoy all human rights and fundamental freedoms.

1.4.5 Social Justice and Inclusive Education

As well as strong links to human rights, inclusive education is also an issue of social
justice. Broadly speaking, social justice refers to giving all individuals and groups a just
share of the advantages and benefits of a society. Specifically, social justice is the
process that seeks to ensure the maintenance of a fair, equitable and egalitarian society.
Discrimination, persecution, intolerance, prejudice and inequity are the antithesis of the
goals of social justice (University of Southern Queensland, 2007). Social justice works
against marginalisation and exclusion.

Inclusive education is essentially social justice in education. It seeks a fair, equitable


and egalitarian education for all students. It seeks to break down discrimination and
prejudice based on difference or minority status. However, as Slee (2001a) has stated,
those arguing for social justice in education have been relatively silent in regards to
disabled students.

1.4.6 The Disability Movement and Inclusive Education


The way that societies have thought of, and conceptualised disability, has long been
influenced by a medical model of disability. This model described and defined
disability as an individual deficit, a problem or illness residing within an individual that
required remediating or curing. However, over the last fifty years, the disability
movement has challenged this understanding of disability, with the argument that
disability is socially constructed. The challenge has come, in particular, from the work
of Mike Oliver who encouraged people to think about disability from social and cultural
perspectives (e.g., Oliver, 1987). Oliver challenged individual perspectives of disability
which located the problem of disability within the individual and which assumed that
limitations or losses arose from disability. Oliver purported that it is not individual
limitations that are the problem, but societys failure to provide appropriate services and

10
to ensure that the needs of disabled people are taken into account in social organisations
(Oliver, 1996).

The concept of inclusive education is a reflection of the social model of disability


(Mittler, 2000). As the social model of disability concerns itself with the identification
and reduction of obstacles to the participation of disabled people in regular societies,
inclusive education concerns itself with the identification and reduction of obstacles to
the participation of disabled students in regular schools. The disability movement,
which traditionally focused on the rights of adults, is now concerning itself with
children and is working alongside organisations that are campaigning for inclusive
education (Mittler, 2000).

1.4.7 Exclusion
The term exclusion is used in many disciplines, for example education, geography,
and social work. It is also a term that has found favour in political discourse,
particularly in the United Kingdom and particularly in relation to social exclusion. The
term exclusion is complex, contradictory and confusing because it is used in a variety of
different ways to mean different things, both within, and across disciplines.

For example, in social sciences the term social exclusion is one that is gaining
widespread acceptance. In this discipline, social exclusion is described as a process that
deprives individuals or groups of people from the resources that they need to participate
in the social, economic and political activity of society (Pierson, 2002). Social exclusion
is usually a consequence of poverty, but other factors such as discrimination and low
educational attainment have also been shown to bring about social exclusion (ibid).

This explanation is closely linked to the concept of marginalisation. Marginalisation has


been described as a socio-political process and is the peripheralisation of individuals
and groups from a dominant, central majority (Hall, 1999). It is the pushing away of
groups of people or individuals from the centre. As with exclusion, marginalisation has
been described as both a process and an experience (McIntosh, 2006, p. 48), which
results in social inequality and disadvantage. It results in social inequality and

11
disadvantage because the power and voice in any social group comes from the centre.
The further away a person is from this centre, the less power and voice that person has.
The education field has forged its own specific discourse around exclusion, but again,
even within this discourse there are differing explanations and uses. For example, in the
literature around school discipline, the term exclusion has come to mean the forced
removal of students from school due to serious misconduct. Inclusive education has
taken up the term exclusion and used it in another specific way. In the inclusive
education literature, exclusion is used to mean the opposite of inclusion (e.g., Ballard,
2004b; Booth, 1996). Based on this understanding, inclusion and exclusion are directly
related. To be included is to be not excluded. To be excluded is to be not included.
Exclusion and inclusion are two faces of the same coin. To understand one aspect
requires an understanding of the other. If a student is not being included (or is not
present, participating and learning) at school, they are experiencing exclusion. As Booth
(1996) points out, exclusion occurs whenever the participation of pupils in the cultures
and curricula of mainstream schools is decreased.

Adding to the confusion of multiple meanings and multiple uses, is that few writers go
to any lengths to be explicit regarding the meaning they place on the term exclusion,
using it freely and perhaps assuming that the meaning ascribed to it is universal and
understood by all.

While there is much confusion surrounding the term and its use, in this study the use of
the term exclusion will follow explanations from the inclusive education literature, and
be based specifically on the definition of Booth (1996), who states that exclusion is the
process of decreasing the participation of pupils in the cultures and curricula of
mainstream schools (pp. 3435). However, it should be noted that when discussing the
literature, other terms will be used, for example marginalisation, as these are terms that
are used in the literature to describe the phenomenon of exclusion. These concepts will
be explored further in Chapter Two.

1.5 Terminology and Inclusive Education


Language has the power to include and to exclude, for ideologies are carried through
language (Ballard, 2004b). The ideology of exclusive education has a well-established

12
language (Mittler, 2000). If there is a desire to overcome exclusionary forces within a
society (including the societies of schools), individuals need to resist and reject the
language that carries the ideology of exclusion (Ballard 2004b, p. 103). In particular,
the use of the term special needs has been associated with the devaluing and excluding
of disabled students (Ainscow, 2000; Mittler, 2000). The use of the term special can
create a mindset that perpetuates segregation (Mittler, 2000) and those who carry this
label are often viewed as different from others in ways that are not valued by the
mainstream (Ainscow, 2000). As Mittler highlights even if the concept of special
educational needs was now abolished, the damage done by the use of such language
will take a long time to heal (p. 80).

The language of medical model thinking has also been associated with the exclusion of
disabled students (Ainscow, 2000). Terms such as diagnosis, therapy, disorders all
conjure up ideas of deficits and illness. These terms, which have been commonly used
in relation to special education, have been shown to target those associated with them
for derisive humour and patronising solicitude (Biklen, 1989, p. 13). These terms will
be avoided in this thesis, except where it is historically necessary or where it is used in
quotations or citations of other peoples work. The term disabled will be used in line
with the New Zealand Disability Strategy (Ministry of Health, 2001), which defines
disability as the process which happens when one group of people create barriers by
designing a world only for their way of living, taking no account of the impairments
other people have (Minister of Health, 2001, p. 10). The exception to this will be when
quoting or discussing the work of other authors, who may use the term in different
ways.

1.6 The Place of the Researcher


As Bogdan and Biklen (2007) point out, no matter how much you [researcher] try, you
cannot divorce your research and writing from your past experiences, who you are,
what you believe, and what you value. Being a clean slate is neither possible nor
desirable (p. 38).

Therefore, it is important to lay open my background and experiences that influence


this thesis. Prior to this research, I was a classroom teacher in a range of primary and

13
intermediate schools in New Zealand. I spent five years working in the special
education system as a Guidance and Learning Teacher and a Resource Teacher of
Special Needs. I am presently working in an education facility at a university. In this
position I teach and research in the area of inclusive education. I have a brother who has
an intellectual and visual impairment and who spent 40 years of his life in an institution
for intellectually disabled people. I have two sons who have been through the New
Zealand education system.

This study was approached with a consciousness of the negative implications that can,
and have been associated with research in this area. For example, research in the area of
disability has been implicated in framing disabled people as other (Morton, 2006). The
othering of disabled students is well recognised as a strong force of exclusion and
marginalisation. Therefore, I was at pains to avoid othering those whom I was seeking
to empower (disabled students and their family/whnau3). The aim was to deconstruct
disability, rather than construct it, and to focus on research for disabled students rather
than research on disabled students.

1.7 Summary
Chapter One has provided background information in which to place and interpret this
research. It has discussed the development of educational provisions for disabled
students in New Zealand, and the issues that have led to a call for a new educational
approach to meet the need, which are to uncover the factors that act to exclude disabled
students from and within school; provide some answers to the question of why this may
be occurring; and make recommendations that may reduce the exclusion of disabled
students from and within school. The rationale for the study was described. This is
based on evidence suggesting that disabled students are experiencing barriers to their
inclusion in schools. However, there is a lack of research investigating the nature of
school exclusion in relation to disabled students. If progress is to be made towards
achieving more inclusive schools, more needs to be known about exclusion, or the
factors that are working against inclusive education. Finally, key terms were defined
and their use in this research clarified.

3
Maori word for family

14
1.8 Organisation of the Thesis
The thesis is organised into seven chapters. This first chapter states the aims and
rationale for the study, and provides background information in which to place and
interpret the research. Chapter Two reviews the literature that informs and supports the
aims of this study. Chapter Three explores the methodological theory underpinning the
study, including the epistemology, theoretical perspective, and methodologies that the
study is based upon. Chapter Four presents the methods and procedures used, including
the selection and recruitment of research participants, the ethical principles that were
considered, and the data gathering tools that were used. Chapter Five presents the
findings of the study. Chapter Six discusses the results of the research, and critiques
these in the context of the existing literature as well as in the context of future research
required. The final chapter summarises and draws conclusions about the study. It also
provides indicators and recommendations that may reduce and eliminate school
exclusion.

15
16
CHAPTER TWO
LITERATURE REVIEW
______________________________________________________________________

2.1 Introduction
The aim of this study is to explore the nature of school exclusion of disabled students.
This chapter presents evidence from the literature to inform this study. It examines
some of the ways that exclusion is conceptualised and explores various theories and
propositions around school exclusion of disabled students.

The literature review begins by outlining the research aims and questions. Descriptions
of the search strategies used for the literature review are then provided. The construct of
exclusion and the various ways that it is conceptualised is examined. Literature around
the rights discourse of inclusive education is reviewed followed by an examination of
factors influencing school exclusion of disabled students.

2.2 Research Questions


This study aims to explore the barriers that prevent children and young people who are
disabled, or who experience difficulties with learning and behaviour, from actively
participating and learning in school. The research addresses three key questions:
1. How do some disabled students experience exclusion from and within school?
2. Why do some disabled students experience exclusion from and within school?
3. How can disabled students exclusion from and within school be reduced and
eliminated?

2.3 Literature Review Methods


Keywords were developed to assist the electronic search of the literature throughout the
research process. These are outlined in Table 2.1.

17
Table 2.1
Key words for literature review
Inclusive education and; School exclusion and: Marginalisation and:
inclusion and:
attitudes marginalisation school
barriers attitudes attitudes
curriculum disability disability
disability disability discourse disability discourse
disability discourse effects effects
enablers parents students
parents rights rights
rights curriculum curriculum
principal social justice social justice
social justice teachers teachers
teachers values values
values principal exclusion
exclusion
marginalisation

Books, journal articles, theses, conference papers, government policies and documents
and commissioned reports were sourced for the literature review. The criteria for
selection of material into the literature review were:
Material containing the primary keywords.
Material linking the primary keywords with secondary keywords (e.g. inclusion
with teachers).
Publications not older than 15 years (except for seminal works).
Articles by key researchers within the keyword areas.

Electronic searches were carried out using ERIC, and EBSCO HOST. The search
engine Google Scholar was also used. Additionally, key journals in the field were
systematically searched. These included:
Australian Education Review
British Journal of Special Education
Cambridge Journal of Education
Critical Studies in Education
Disability Culture and Education
Education, Citizenship and Social Justice
International Studies of Sociology in Education
International Journal of Disability, Development and Education

18
International Journal of Inclusive Education
Issues in Education
Issues and Research in Special Education
Journal of Education for Teaching
New Zealand Journal of Educational Studies
Remedial and Special Education
Waikato Journal of Education

For the purposes of this study, a thematic approach was used to synthesise the literature.
These themes emerged through the literature review.

2.4 What is Exclusion?


As explained in Chapter One, the concept of exclusion is complex, contradictory and
confusing. Not only is it used in a range of different disciplines, but across disciplines,
and even within each discipline, it can be used in different ways to mean different
things. To add to the complexity, few writers using the term define their use of it. It is
important therefore, to briefly explore some of these multiple meanings and discourses.

Outside of education, for example in social policy, the term exclusion is commonly
used. In particular, the term social exclusion is increasingly used in the area of
government social policy in Europe and the United Kingdom. Social exclusion
originated in France and was first used to replace terms associated with poverty and
underclass (Milbourne, 2002). Combat Poverty Action Group (2008) describe social
exclusion as:
The process whereby certain groups are pushed to the margins of society and
prevented from participating fully by virtue of their poverty, low education or
inadequate life skills. This distances them from job, income and education
opportunities as well as social and community networks. They have little access
to power and decision-making bodies and little chance of influencing decisions
or policies that affect them, and little chance of bettering their standard of living
(page not given).

19
The concept of social exclusion is closely related to the concept of marginalisation.
Marginalisation originated from the political struggles of people of colour, women, the
poor, immigrants, the mentally ill, and children (Hall, 1999). It is tied to the notion of
normality, where those who are not perceived to fall within the bounds of normality
come to be seen as outsiders by those who do (Messiou, 2006). Marginalisation is often
described as a socio-political process (Hall, 1999) that results in inequality and
disadvantage.

The notion of marginalisation can be conceptualised in relation to a circle, with


members of a group or society being more or less marginalised depending on their
proximity to the core of the circle (McIntosh, 2006; Messiou, 2006). The core of the
circle represents the heart of a society or groups normality (the idea of normality being
socially constructed). Those members of the group or society who are most like these
notions of normality find their place easily within this core. The more different from the
norm a person is perceived to be, the further from the inner core of the circle they find
themselves. The further from the inner core a person or group of people find
themselves, the more marginalised they are from access to social justice, power,
participation, voice and value (Tucker, 1990).

When describing the concept of marginalisation, pinning down this centre point (the
place of normality) is often difficult (Ferguson, 1992). This is because it can be a very
hidden place and to know that place often requires membership. Also ideas of normality
are social constructs, not direct referents. However, despite the elusiveness of the
centre, Ferguson stresses that it exerts a real and undeniable power in social contexts.

The power of the centre depends on it being unchallenged (Ferguson, 1992). However,
if this authority is challenged and breaks down, then there remains no centre point to
which others can be marginalised from. As Ferguson states:
In our society, dominant discourse tries never to speak its own name. Its
authority is based on absence. The absence is not just that of the various groups
classified as other although members of these groups are routinely denied
power. It is also the lack of any overt acknowledgement of the specificity of the
dominant culture which is simply assumed to the all-encompassing norm. This is
the basis of its power (p. 11).

20
Fergusons explanation of the unchallenged nature of the centre has direct relevance to
the exclusion of disabled students. The dominant discourse of education has been
shown to exclude disabled students, however, it never speaks it name as such, rather
giving the impression that what occurs at schools is a natural normal occurrence, not
socially constructed by those who hold the power.

In education, exclusion is typically a term that has been used to describe what occurs
when students are formally removed from school for reasons of inappropriate behaviour
and discipline. In New Zealand the term exclusion is used to mean the formal removal
of a student aged under 16 from the school and the requirement that the student enrol
elsewhere (Ministry of Education, 2008c, p. not given). Students can only be excluded
if their behaviour is deemed by the school principal to be harmful or a dangerous
example to other students at the school, or if the student has displayed continual
disobedience and this is a harmful or dangerous example to other students at the school
(Ministry of Education, 2003).

As well as explanations of exclusion related to school discipline, recently inclusive


education research has taken up the term exclusion and used it in direct relation to the
notion of inclusion. While exclusion as it relates to school discipline is an overt
practice, with a focus on physical non-presence, the use of the term exclusion in the
field of inclusive education differs. For example, the term exclusion is used in the
literature in relation to forces of exclusion: those factors that act to make it difficult for
a student to have full and fair access to all the things that happen at school. For
example, special education language has been reported as a force of exclusion (Ballard,
2004b). In the inclusive education literature, exclusion is also used to describe the
process that occurs when a student is denied access to all the things that happen at
school, such as access to the curriculum, access to friendship groups, access to teacher
time and so forth (Booth, 1996).

Critical to this thesis is the idea that the term exclusion is not just associated with
physical presence at school. A student may be in school, but still experiencing exclusion
if they are not able to access curriculum, friendships and other experiences considered
as ordinary (Kearney, 2008). Finally, exclusion can be both obvious and hidden. For
example, a student may be experiencing exclusion at school, but those factors that are

21
acting to exclude that student may be so ingrained in the structure and culture of a
school that they go unnoticed and unquestioned (Slee & Allan, 2005). In the inclusive
education literature, the term exclusion is used as an antonym to inclusion.

2.4.1 Exclusion of Disabled Mori Students


It is important to specifically consider the exclusion of disabled Mori students in New
Zealand. Mori students in general (both disabled and non-disabled) experience greater
levels of exclusion from and within schools than non-Mori students (Tuhiwai-Smith,
2006). Studies have shown that the most critical characterisation that has reinforced the
exclusion of Mori within education is the perceived inferiority with regard to Mori
language, intellect, social formation and cultural practices (Bishop, Berryman,
Richardson, & Tiakiwai, 2003). Add disability to this already discriminated group, and
it can be argued that exclusion is even more greatly experienced.

Bevan-Brown (2000, 2006, 2007), argues that one of the major factors that act to
exclude and marginalise disabled Mori students is negative individual and societal
beliefs and attitudes. One of the most detrimental of these is a belief that a childs
culture is not relevant to their education. This can be seen when teachers deny cultural
difference and employ monocultural and discriminatory pedagogical practices,
particularly around assessment (Bevan-Brown, 2006). Other exclusionary principles and
practices identified by Bevan-Brown (2006) include: low teacher expectations leading
to self fulfilling prophecies; economic rationalisation (p. 224) where schools are
driven by monetary imperatives and Mori relevant services are not provided because
they are not economically viable; meritocratic, individualistic and competitive
ideologies (p. 224) that create school systems and school practices that conflict with
holistic, Mori views values and beliefs; and majority culture ethnocentrism which
results in differences in Mori students being perceived as deficits (ibid).

Other studies report similar findings. For example, researchers from Massey University
(Bourke et al., 2001), when talking with teachers, principals and teacher aides around
meeting the needs of disabled Mori students, found deficit model thinking, low teacher
expectations and an ignorance of the importance of a childs culture. Similarly, other
research projects in New Zealand have identified deficit beliefs and low expectations as

22
factors that exclude and marginalise Mori students (Bishop et al., 2003; Phillips, 2005;
Wilkie, 1999).

International research in relation to ethnicity and disability has long reported the over-
representation of ethnic minority students with special education labels; labels that act
to marginalise and exclude these students from access to the advantages of mainstream
education (Ishii-Jordon, 1997). Current research would suggest that this is still evident
in educational systems around the world (Artiles, Klingner, & Tate, 2006; Reid &
Knight, 2006). Similarly, in New Zealand, Phillips (2005) reports this phenomenon and
asks the question whether Mori are diagnosed with special needs because they have
a genuine impairment or because they come from different social, cultural and linguistic
traditions.

2.4.2 What are the Effects of Exclusion?


While not a direct aim of this study, it is difficult to overlook the theme of school
exclusion effects. Because exclusion is about devaluing people (Booth, 1996), one of
the major psychological effects of exclusion is students negative feelings of value and
belonging (Falvey & Givner, 2005). In a major synthesis of research regarding students
need for belonging in a school community, Osterman (2000) draws a number of
relevant conclusions. She maintains that a sense of belonging is an extremely important
concept and as a psychological phenomenon has a far reaching impact on human
behaviour and motivation. She found that many students fail to experience a sense of
belongingness at school. The results of not having this are a range of emotional
problems such as violence towards other students and teachers, drugs, depression, drop
outs, eating problems, and teen pregnancy (pp. 358359). Baumeister and Leary
(1995), in a review of over 300 citations, found that being excluded or ignored often
leads to negative feelings of depression, jealously, anxiety, grief and loneliness. They
also found that when people lack belongingness, they are prone to a range of
behavioural problems including criminality and suicide.

Whenever students are denied access to the culture and curricula of mainstream schools,
they are devalued (Booth, 1996). Devaluing people leads to feelings of alienation and
isolation (ibid) and has been suggested as a reason for crime, and many other

23
difficulties experienced by societies (Forest & Pearpoint, 1992). Exclusion from
education has also been shown to limit employment opportunities and restrict freedoms
of citizenship including access to adequate income and housing (UNESCO, 2005).

Similarly, a common theme to emerge from the inclusion literature is the link between
exclusion and segregation in schools spilling over to create exclusive and segregative
societies (Stainback & Stainback, 1996). While schools continue to legitimise
exclusion, communities that exclude particular people will continue to exist. It could
also be argued that while communities continue to legitimise exclusion, exclusion in
schools will continue to exist.

2.5 Human Rights


In recent years, inclusive education and exclusion have been viewed and interpreted as a
rights issue (Ballard, 2007; Daniels & Garner, 1999; UNESCO, 2005). A major
impetus for this approach has been the advocacy of disabled people themselves (Mittler,
2000). A rights discourse of inclusive education is supported in and by many
international rights declarations. For example The Universal Declaration of Human
Rights (1948); The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCROC)
(1989); The Salamanca Statement and Framework for Action on Special Needs
Education (1994) (under the aegis of UNESCO); and The Convention on the Rights of
Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD, 2006)4.

There is certain appeal for a human rights approach to inclusive education (Mittler,
2000). One of the advantages of this approach is that it lessens the importance, or makes
irrelevant, research validation about the benefits of inclusive education (Mittler, 2000).
Also, it is well documented that disabled children are less able to fully realise their
human rights than other social groups (Campbell, 2001; New Zealand Human Rights
Commission, 2004). It has long been accepted that education is a basic human right for
all children and that free and open education systems are necessary for creating
inclusive societies. As stated in the New Zealand Human Rights Commission (2004):
Education is critical to the development of human potential, to the enjoyment of
the full range of human rights and to respect for the rights of others. Education

4
See Chapter One for a further explanation of these declarations.

24
also acts as a protector of childrens rights. The right to education straddles civil
and political rights, and economic, social and cultural rights (p. 68).

Therefore, inclusive education is not just a way to ensure that all children and young
people have their right to education fulfilled, but it is also a vehicle for ensuring that
children and young people learn to respect and respond to diversity in their
communities and their societies (ibid). Education provides one of the most powerful
tools in breaking down stereotypes and negative attitudes towards disabled people
(Campbell, 2001).

The human rights perspective is also very useful for examining and understanding the
reasons why disabled students are being excluded from and within school. Many of the
ways that disabled children are denied inclusion are based on a denial of their rights.
Logically then, if disabled students were to experience their full rights they would not
be excluded or marginalised. The notion that disabled students experience fewer rights
to access regular education than non disabled students is well reported in the literature.
(e.g., Lansdown, 2001; MacArthur, Sharp, Kelly, & Gaffney, 2007; New Zealand
Human Rights Commission, 2004).

The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child identified a number of factors
that impede the access of disabled children to inclusive education. These were:
Deep seated prejudice and fear of disability, when disability is viewed as a
curse, stigma or punishment. The isolation of disabled children serves to
perpetuate such myths.
A lack of understanding about the potential of all children to develop if
provided with a responsive environment.
The prevalence of discriminatory laws that fail to provide equal rights of
access to disabled children.
Persistence of the medical model of disability in which the disabled person
is defined as the problem. This contrasts with the social model, where a
child is perceived as having an impairment, but is disabled by attitudes and
the environment.
The failure to recognise the potential economic and social benefits of
inclusive education for society as a whole (Lansdown, 2001, p. 45).

25
It is probable that these factors are also evident in the New Zealand education system.
For example, the New Zealand Human Rights Commission report that many of the
disability-related complaints to the Human Rights Commission are related to disabled
students being denied their rights to education (New Zealand Human Rights
Commission, 2004). Complaints were based on the difficulties parents and students
experienced with the attitudes and behaviour of staff and students who it was reported,
lacked understanding of the needs of disabled students and were patronising or openly
discriminatory. Also reported was a lack of specialist services and equipment and a lack
of funding for them. Parents indicated a need for teachers to be trained to work with
disabled students (New Zealand Human Rights Commission, 2004).

Four broad standards for assessing the achievement of the right to education have been
adapted for use in a New Zealand context in the form of A Right to Education
Framework (Human Rights Commission, 2004). These were taken from the standards
proposed by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education,
Katerina Tomasevski. These standards are:
Availability: to ensure education is available for all in accordance with
human rights standards;
Accessibility: to ensure access to available education for all in accordance
with human rights standards/ Accessibility also includes affordability;
Acceptability: to ensure that all education provision conforms to the
minimum human rights standards;
Adaptability: to ensure education is responsive to the best interests and
benefit of the learner, in their current and future contexts (New Zealand
Human Rights Commission, 2004, pp. 6869).

Each of these four standards has been used by The New Zealand Human Rights
Commission to judge New Zealands progress towards education for all. In relation to
availability, it has been found that New Zealand is performing well. In terms of
accessibility, participation rates for disabled people are disproportionately low. In
relation to acceptability, The Human Rights Commission report that there are disparate
standards of education for disabled children and they experience discrimination,
bullying and harassment over issues of disability. Finally in relation to adaptability, it is

26
reported that disabled people are experiencing disproportionately low achievement rates
(New Zealand Human Rights Commission, 2004).

Lack of attention to the rights of disabled students to education in New Zealand is an


area of concern. An example of this lack of attention can be seen in the 2008 Report of
the Education and Science Committee Inquiry into making the schooling system work
for every child (New Zealand House of Representatives Education and Science
Committee, 2008). Throughout this report, there was no discussion on how effective the
education system is for disabled students. The only part of the report to mention
disabled students pointed out that the committee did not gather any evidence around
students on the autistic spectrum.

However, taking a human rights perspective to inclusive education is not without its
critics. For example Armstrong, Armstrong and Barton (2000) believe that limiting
discussions of inclusive education to human rights is constraining as it offers no
strategies to bring about change. They also believe that it does not challenge, or
adequately problematise issues of power and control, issues that have been shown to be
a major force in the exclusion of disabled people.

2.6 Exclusion: Influencing Factors


A rights explanation is useful in providing an overarching basis for an examination of
the phenomenon of exclusion of disabled students. However, the reasons why disabled
students experience exclusion and the methods by which they are excluded are far more
complex. This is for two main reasons. First, often the reasons for excluding disabled
students are hidden and deeply embedded in attitudes and practices that are accepted
and taken for granted. As Slee and Allan (2005) point out, Exclusion proceeds through
deep structural and broad cultural mechanisms to invigilate a shifting spectrum of
diversity (p. 15).

Second, it is difficult to identify the precise factors of school exclusion (i.e., the how
and why of exclusion) because of the interrelated nature of them. That said, this section
will review the literature examining why disabled students experience exclusion from
and within school, and how it occurs.

27
2.6.1 Market Model Systems
One of the most compelling reasons cited in the literature for the exclusion of disabled
students is market model education systems. That is, where schools compete against
each other to attract students. Barton and Slee (1999) note that market model education
systems, encourage competition between schools with the aim of increasing and
improving standards of academic achievement and behaviour. However, as research has
shown, while market model systems may promote individual choice and freedom, the
schools that successfully operate within this model do not promote social justice or
equity, particularly for minority and marginalised groups (Barton & Slee, 1999; Clark,
Dyson, Millward, & Robson, 1999b; Thomas, Walker, & Webb, 1998). Education
systems based on market model systems are particularly problematic for inclusive
education. If schools have to compete for students, they want students who add value
to their school rather than invite risk (Slee, 2001a, p. 392). Slee also reports that the
competition brought about from market model systems in education has increased
pressure on schools to assure parents that high standards will be maintained in schools,
and that problem students will not interfere with the learning of their children (Slee,
2001a). This is proving to be a major force in the exclusion of disabled students
(Ballard, 2003a; Carrington, 1999; Halpin, 1999; Slee, 2001a). As Barton and Slee
(1999) note:
there is an assumed benign quality to the selective precision of the market as it
randomly picks and chooses according to natural talent. Market equilibrium
defines social good. Competition as the instrument of selection will include and
it will exclude (p. 5).
Corbett (1999a) concurs, noting that competition has been used as a tool of
marginalisation and exclusion and that by its very nature competition is the antithesis of
inclusion.

New Zealand has not been immune to issues associated with market model education
systems. The concept of self managing schools5 was introduced in 1989. This had the
effect of making schools more aware of the need to attract students, often in
competition with other schools (Gordon, 1994). Similar to researchers commenting on
similar systems around the world, Ballard (1999b) believes that this concept makes it
5
Where funding, management and governance is devolved to the individual school operating under a
Board of Trustees.

28
extremely difficult to sustain a model of inclusion. Other New Zealand research
supports this assertion. For example in a study into the effects of the Special Education
2000 policy, Bourke et al. (2000) found that some school principals did not want their
school to be known as one that attracted students with special needs in case some
parents were detracted from sending their bright children to the school. Similar findings
have also been reported in Australia (Slee, 2001a).

Examination systems, particularly in secondary schools, are reported as a vehicle of


exclusion. Searle (2001) has suggested examination systems in Britain ensure thousands
of young British students fail and are rejected. He points out that that the entire British
school examination system has been built upon practices of exclusion as it was not
designed for the majority of school age children, but rather a small minority of children
(Searle, 2001). While New Zealand has a different system of examinations, similar
parallels can be drawn. For example in 2003, more than 40% of year 11 students failed
to meet the requirements for National Certificate in Educational Achievement6 (NCEA)
level one (Larson, 2004).

In many countries the publication of league tables7 has exacerbated exclusion. For
example, Searle (2001) reported that in Great Britain, during August of 1996, it was
revealed that, in order to boost their ranking in performance tables, some schools were
refusing thousands of sixteen-year-olds their right to sit the General Certificate of
Secondary Education (GCSE) examinations. Those students who were considered likely
to fail were not allowed to attempt the examination, as their results would bring down
the schools overall pass rate. By excluding these students, schools were then able to
raise the percentage of students who achieved five GCSE passes between grades A and
C. Approximately 50,000 students nationally, mainly from working class homes, were
denied access to the GCSE examination (ibid). Milbourne (2002) found that teachers
and schools were likely to devote their energy and resources to pupils who were just at
the borderline of achieving nation examination passes, which left them less time to
devote to pupils who experienced much greater difficulties with learning.
6
NCEA is a national assessment programme in secondary schools grounded within a competency
framework which allows students to demonstrate achievement across a range of competencies within
each subject to levels of either credit, merit or excellence.
7
Where ranked lists of schools, based on student achievement scores and examinations pass rates, are
published in newspapers and other media with the purpose of enabling parents and students to make
informed choices regarding attending different schools.

29
In New Zealand, the practice of publishing tables showing comparisons of individual
school results in the National Certificate in Educational Achievement (NCEA) pass
rates could possibly create similar practices. In an investigation into a New Zealand
secondary school (Larson, 2004), it was reported that under-performing students were
deflected from enrolling in core subjects, so that the school could report 100% pass
rates in NCEA.

These are just some compelling arguments showing that competition is a vehicle of
exclusion. As Searle (2001) warns:
The hidden hand of the market will not deliver a morally justifiable school
system. In fact the market always pushes the system towards injustice. It is
inevitable that competition between schools will reinforce a division between
failing and successful schools. Thus it is crucial that schools do well in school
league tables: otherwise they will be set on a downward spiral of falling rolls
and diminishing resources (p. 136).

2.6.2 Protection of Majorities


As well as the more obvious reasons for the exclusion of students from schools, some
researchers have suggested more complex reasons that reach deep into the heart of
societies and their cultures. Staub (1990) reports that groups in power or a majority
position can look to enhance this power and majority by partially or wholly excluding
some groups from certain aspects of a society. Staub notes that by excluding some
groups, those in power maintain their privileged status.

Education has been used as a vehicle to protect the self-interest and power of majority
groups, often by way of denying some groups access to academic credentials.
Tomlinson (1999) noted that restricting access to academic and professional
qualifications is a major form of social exclusion. Some have argued that governments
are at the heart of this exclusion. Governments are prone to support exclusionary forces
in schools, as well as creating the catalyst for them by way of adopting policies that
protect the interests of some groups of students and legitimate the exclusion of others.
Examples of this include funding frameworks based on labels, promoting segregated

30
special education facilities, and the publication of league tables (Reay, 2004;
Tomlinson, 1999).

It has been suggested that practices that lead to the exclusion of disabled students (e.g.,
segregation, streaming, labelling), occur because professionals with particular status
carry them out (Tomlinson, 1996). It is the status of the professionals involved that
legitimises the practices. Similarly, students can be subjected to exclusionary forces
because it justifies the work and beliefs of those professionals involved in these
practices. For example it has been reported that professionals and academics who earn
their living working from exclusionary paradigms and within settings that segregate
disabled people, do not want their positions and livelihoods taken away from them
(Booth & Ainscow, 1998b). Therefore they would be likely to resist any moves towards
more inclusionary philosophies and practices (ibid). Similar findings were reported by
the European Agency for Development in Special Needs Education (2003). In their
thirty-country study of inclusive education, they found that in some European countries,
special educators felt threatened by the process of inclusive education, because they
thought that it would endanger their jobs.

2.6.3 Disability Discourses


A discourse is a way of speaking about a reality and a way of constructing knowledge.
It is through discourse that meaning and knowledge about a phenomenon are formed
and produced (Purdue, 2004). Discourses provide the words and symbols that allow
people to construct and communicate a reality (Johnson, 2005). Discourses also
determine what is important and what is not important.

A discourse can develop when there is an acceptance of certain issues and assumptions
around a phenomenon or issue (Neilson, 2005). Over recent decades there has been
increasing recognition that our awareness and understanding of issues and phenomenon
are influenced by the language and concepts we use (Barnes, Mercer, & Shakespeare,
1999). Therefore, discourses are very powerful in terms of shaping ideas, norms, values
and beliefs about a topic or phenomenon.

31
This has been the case in relation to the concept of disability, where a range of
meanings has been assigned based on different discourses. Historically, three main
discourses have dominated thinking about disability: (1) medical discourses, (2) charity
discourses, and (3) lay discourses (Fulcher, 1989). Traditionally understandings of
disability have been dominated by the medical discourse, which interprets disability as
an individual problem where a person is perceived by others as having has a deficit, an
illness or problem that needs fixing or curing. Disability is not seen as normal and
social, political and cultural contexts play no part in the interpretation of disability.
Medical discourses of disability often portray disabled people as others and, by
implication, legitimise discrimination against them (Purdue, 2004).

Charity and lay discourses are closely linked to medical perspectives. In regards to
charity discourses, Neilson (2005) points out that disabled people are described as
needy, pitiful and requiring compensation. As opposed to disabled people, able-bodied
people hold the dominant knowledge discourse and they set the rules based on what
they regard as normal. Also disabled peoples judgements and preferences are regarded
as inferior to those of professionals who are working to help them (ibid). Similarly,
lay discourses regard disability as something terrible (Fulcher, 1989).

Over the last few decades, medical, charity and lay discourses have been challenged as
disablist, discriminatory and oppressive. The notion of disability being a problem that
resides within an individual was criticised and challenged and an alternative perspective
was given which located the problems disabled people experienced as arising from
societys failure to provide appropriate services and take into account the needs of
disabled people in relation to the way societies are organised (Oliver, 1996). This
discourse has gathered momentum and can be seen as a major way of thinking evident
in, for example, disability studies courses in universities around the world. Similarly,
this socio-cultural perspective can be seen at government policy level. For example the
New Zealand Disability Strategy (Ministry of Health, 2001) which defines disability as
not something individuals have disability is the process which happens when one
group of people create barriers by designing a world only for their way of living, taking
no account of the impairments other people have (p. 10). However, this discourse is
not without its critics. For example Corker and French (1999) believe that socio-cultural

32
model theories of disability still have value judgements because they dichotomise
disability and impairment. Disability tends to be valued (that is, it is acceptable to be
labelled disabled) and impairment tends to be silenced and marginalised (it is not talked
about or valued because it is not acceptable).

2.6.4 The Notion of Difference


The theme of disability as difference is often associated with exclusion. It has been
argued that the phenomenon of difference is a social and political phenomenon.
Minow (1990) sees difference as a function of comparison and not, as has traditionally
been the case, some individual pathology of the different person. To understand
difference requires an understanding of the majority other. As Minnow (1990) states,
if we look closely at the context that defines some people as different, that difference
will no longer seem empirically discoverable (p. 22), but rather ideas about difference
will be clues to problems associated with the responsibilities of people within a society
and the policies of those societies (ibid). The effects of seeing difference as a function
of comparison can lead to dividing the world into have and have nots, worthy and
unworthy, valued and unvalued (Minnow, 1990).

This is of direct relevance to the exclusion of disabled students. Some studies have
shown that the notion of difference is seen as a justification for excluding and
marginalising disabled students from regular education. Purdue, Ballard, and
MacArthur (2001), found that the teachers in their study identified disabled students as
different from those students who were not disabled and therefore not the responsibility
of the classroom teacher. They found that when this did happen, those students would
be considered the responsibility of an untrained teacher aide. Ainscow (1999) has
reported similar findings where teachers have believed that because of the needs of
some disabled students, they could not be expected to teach them. Similarly, the degree
of difference can equate to the level of rights disabled children are given to be present,
participate and learn in regular classrooms. MacArthur, Dight, and Purdue (2000) found
that some teachers suggested to them that some disabled children are too different and
too disabled to be taught in a regular classroom.

33
The idea of difference has been associated with medical model thinking about disabled
students. In a study by Davis and Watson (2001a), teachers told researchers how
different disabled children were to us. Often these ideas about difference were based
on value judgements and medical model perspectives that had as their focus, childrens
impairments and deficits. Davis and Watson (2001a) also found that because
difference was not something that was valued or aspired to, disabled students were
often forced to act normal. This was associated with a view that it was the role of the
teacher to correct disabled students abnormalities or deficits, and this process of such
correction was based on developing a dependency on non-disabled people (Davis &
Watson, 2001a).

Ballard (1995) argued that schools that practice exclusion do not see differentness as
part of the ordinary and not being ordinary is used as a justification to exclude or
marginalise these students from mainstream schools. He points out that this is often
under the misguided belief that they need special treatment that can only be given in
special schools (ibid). This is a reflection of the values of our society. In New Zealand
society, as in many other western societies, normalness is valued. As it is difficult to
segregate school culture from the culture of the wider society in which the school is
placed, these values are also evident in schools (Sarason, 1982).

However, as many writers have noted, difference is culturally, socially and politically
constructed (Ballard, 2003a; Corbett & Slee, 2000; Slee, 2001a). Culture defines who
has ability and who has not, who is valuable to a group and who is not so valuable
(Carrier, 1990). Recognition and understanding of the part played by culture in
including and excluding students is vital in promoting successful inclusion (Carrington,
1999; Slee, 2001a) and therefore, in overcoming school exclusion. As Carrington
(1999) points out: By recognising and understanding social responses to difference and
establishing cultures of difference within schools, equity and the inclusion of all
students could be promoted (p. 259). Slee (2001a) concurs, noting: the point of
embarkation for the journey towards more inclusive forms of schooling is at the point of
recognising the nature and legitimacy of difference and the relations of domination
between different cultural groups (p. 389).

34
Closely related to the concept of difference is the concept of others. Slee (1995)
highlighted the exclusive nature of this term when recounting his involvement in a
forum for teachers and parents. Here he was questioned about the other 29 students in
the class who it was believed would be disadvantaged by having a disabled student
amongst them. The term other was used to imply that the disabled student had the
status of the outsider (Slee, 1995). The concept of other is a complex one, particularly
as it relates to the exclusion of minority student groups. Ballard (1999c) sees this
concept as creating the discrimination of them and us, and this forms the basis for
exclusion. Teachers must consider all students as us not them (Alton-Lee, 2003).

2.6.5 Language
Directly associated with the concept of difference and disability discourse are the words
or language that define and categorise those as different. Language is often reported as
an instrument of exclusion (e.g., Ainscow, 2000; Booth, 2000a; Ballard, 2003b; Slee,
2001b) and most forms of exclusion involve a language that differentiates between
those that are in and those that are out. In relation to disabled students, this language is
well established (Ainscow, 2000; Ballard, 2003b; Booth, 2000a; Slee, 2001b). In
particular, the term special needs has been reported as an example of language that
devalues and excludes those who are assigned the label. The term special needs
presupposes that there is a clearly defined group of students who have extraordinary
needs and these needs are around deficit and not valued difference. Ainscow (2000)
reports that if we categorise and name children as special, this identifies them as
different from others and different in ways that are not valued in schools and in
societies. Corbett (2001) concurs, stating that the concept of special educational needs;
particularly as it is seen in this country [England] becomes another barrier. I dont think
it has a productive contribution to make to the inclusive education agenda. If anything,
it is one of the major barriers to moving forward (p. 41).

It is also relevant to note that studies showing the link between language and exclusion
often find the use of language associated with deficits and illness when referring to
disabled students (e.g., Davis & Watson, 2001b; MacArthur et al., 2000).

35
The language of exclusion can also be hidden. Slee (2001b) warns that those working
from traditional special education paradigms may use the language of inclusion, but still
continue to hold assumptions about disabled people based on ideas of pathological
defect and abnormality. This is not to say that those working from a special education,
deficit model, while speaking the language of inclusion, do so in a conscious effort to
exclude and marginalise the students that they work with, this is probably far from the
truth (Slee, 2001b). However, this is the worst scenario and draws similarities with the
writing of bell hooks (1994) discussing the issues of freedom and justice:
In retrospect, I see that in the last twenty years I have encountered many folks
who say they are committed to freedom and justice for all even though the way
they live, the values and habits of being they institutionalise daily, in public and
private rituals, help maintain the culture of domination, help create an unfree
world (p. 27).

Therefore it may be possible to use the words of inclusion to talk about the principles
and practices of exclusion. Further demonstrations of this can be seen in other areas. For
example, in an advertisement for a teacher to work with students experiencing
difficulties with learning and behaviour, the following description of the work cluster
appeared: Our cluster is focused on inclusive special education practices (Ministry of
Education, 2004, p. 41). Similarly, there are book titles such as Inclusion Practices with
Special Needs Students (Pfeiffer, & Reddy, 1999).

2.6.6 The Curriculum


Curriculum can be described in broad terms as the subject matter, pedagogy (including
assessment) and resources that are involved in the organisation, delivery and
articulation of education programmes (National Board of Employment Education &
Training, 1992). The role of the curriculum in creating more or less inclusive schools is
well documented. For example, UNESCO (2005) reports that accessible and flexible
curricula can serve as the key to creating inclusive schools (p. 25). However, studies
both in New Zealand (e.g., McArthur et al., 2005) and internationally (e.g., Davis &
Watson, 2001b; Lloyd, 2008; UNESCO, 2005) report that often disabled students have
limited access to the general curriculum and that the curriculum may not be designed to
successfully meet the needs of all students.

36
Curriculum adaptation has been reported as a key practice that can reduce the exclusion
often experienced by disabled students. Udvari-Solner (1996) reported that if teachers
did not adopt a model of curriculum adaptation, students were more likely to be
excluded from regular classroom activities. Similarly, Shevlin, Kenny, and McNeela
(2002) found students being more marginalised when teachers did not make adaptations
so that students could access the experiences of their non-disabled peers. Also reported
is the need for teachers to focus on modifying and adapting the curriculum, rather than
disabled students needing to modify and adapt in order to access the curriculum
(Davis & Watson, 2001b).

Lloyd (2008) has argued that the curriculum is inherently biased, focused on the needs
of the academically able to the detriment of those not so able. UNESCO (2005)
suggests the following strategies need to be taken into consideration if the curriculum is
not to be a force of exclusion:
Providing a flexible time-frame for pupils studying particular subjects
Giving greater freedom to teachers in choosing their working methods
Allowing teachers the opportunity of giving special support in practical
subjects (for example orientation and mobility) over and above the periods
allotted for more traditional school subjects
Allotting time for additional assistance for classroom based work
Emphasising aspects of pre-vocational training (p. 25).

UNESCO (2005) also suggests asking the following questions:


What human values promoting inclusion are being fostered through the
curriculum?
Are teaching methods child-centred and interactive?
How is feedback gathered/integrated for curriculum revision?
How is the curriculum related to national assessment systems?
To what extent are the education authorities responsible for monitoring the
school in tune with the curriculum revisions and transactions? (pp. 2526).

Carroll-Lind, Bevan-Brown, and Kearney (2007) suggest that in order to encourage


teachers to think more about curriculum issues in relation to the inclusion and exclusion
of disabled students, curriculum documents need to be very clear about the need for

37
curriculum adaptation and also very clear that it is the teachers role to ensure that the
curriculum is accessible to all students. They also suggest that human rights should be
an integral part of the curriculum as this promotes inclusive schools and communities.

Assessment is considered an integral part of the learning process. However, some forms
of testing and assessment, especially norm-referenced assessments, have been shown to
exclude and marginalise disabled students (Mittler, 2000; Thomas & Loxley, 2001).

2.6.7 Low Teacher Expectations


Low teacher expectations are a factor reported as excluding disabled students from an
inclusive education (Keary, 1998). In an Irish study of students who were physically
disabled, participants reported that their teachers expected less of them than their non-
disabled peers. Teachers accepted work of a lower standard, and gave inadequate
feedback (Shevlin, Kenny, & McNeela, 2002). Similarly, a study by Priestley and
Rabiee (2002) reported low expectations based on perceived severity of impairment. In
a Norwegian study, Nes (1999) reported that teachers of a highly capable disabled
student did not expect her to attain very much.

The concept of self fulfilling prophecies is well reported in the literature (e.g., Tauber,
1997). However, Alton-Lee (2003) warns of taking a simplistic approach when it comes
to the issue of teacher expectations. She maintains that while inappropriate teacher
expectations can undermine student achievement, a focus on teacher expectations alone
will not bring about improved outcomes for students. Teacher expectations need to be
integrated into quality teacher practices. However, Alton-Lee also points out that New
Zealand educators need to break the pattern of inappropriately low expectations for
some groups of students, particularly disabled students (ibid).

2.6.8 Teacher Attitudes and Beliefs


Teacher attitudes and beliefs have been shown to be important factors in the inclusion
or exclusion of disabled students at school. Arguably, one of the most important teacher
attitudes is a belief in the concept of inclusive education. In this regard, if teachers are
not accepting of the principles of inclusive education, barriers to the participation of

38
disabled students will be erected (King-Sears, 1997; MacArthur et al., 2005; Mentis,
Quinn, & Ryba, 2005; Spedding, 2008; UNESCO, 2005). However, Cook, Tankersley,
Cook, and Landrum (2000) would maintain that it is teachers attitudes towards
disabled students themselves, as opposed to their attitudes towards inclusive education
in general that is the critical factor. Ainscow (1999) also identifies the teacher rejection
of certain students based on their characteristics as an excluding factor.

Dyson, Howes, and Roberts (2004) reviewed the literature on how mainstream schools
respond to student diversity, and facilitate participation by all students. They found that
a strong theme running through all studies was the importance of the values and
attitudes held by school staff. Important attitudes included an acceptance and
celebration of difference and a commitment to providing for the social and educational
needs of all students. This commitment to all students is reiterated in other studies. For
example, Carrington and Elkins (2005) found that disabled students may not have their
needs met in regular classrooms if the classroom teacher does not believe that they are
responsible for these children. Similarly, The Queensland School Reform Longitudinal
Study (Education Queensland, 2001) found that teachers who were engaged in
productive pedagogy (that is a pedagogy that successfully meets the needs of all
students) held the belief that they were responsible for all students in their class. In
contrast, teachers who were not engaged in productive pedagogy were less likely to
hold this belief. Ainscow (1999) reported similar findings and argued that barriers to
inclusion are erected when teachers believe that there are some children who they
cannot be expected to teach. Research has also shown that teachers who do not believe
they are responsible for disabled students are likely to hand over responsibility to
teacher aides (Ainscow, 1999; MacArthur et al., 2005).

A belief in the importance of teacher self-reflection with the intention of improving


practice is reported as important in facilitating inclusive education. Corbett (2001)
reports that school staff who are open to learning new skills and to self-reflecting,
respond effectively to students needs, and this contributes to an inclusive school
environment. Similarly, The Queensland School Reform Longitudinal Study (Education
Queensland, 2001) found that teachers who were engaged in productive pedagogy were
more willing to talk about and reflect upon their failings and consider changes that had
to be made to their teaching, than teachers who did not engage in productive pedagogy.

39
Closely related to teacher reflection, is a recognition by teachers of the power that they
hold to either include or exclude students. This recognition is reported as an enabler to
inclusive education (Allan, 1999; Avramidis, Bayliss, & Burden, 2000; Spedding,
2008). If teachers are aware of the part they play in this regard, they are more likely to
modify their behaviour in areas such as use of language, expectations, and stereotyping.
A belief by teachers that all children can learn and succeed is also well reported as a
belief that facilitates inclusive education (Falvey & Givner, 2005).

Teacher misconceptions can also act as barriers to inclusive education. These include
the beliefs that inclusion (1) is a theoretical construct, (2) is not a practical one, (3) is
costly, (4) requires capacities and special skills in teachers and these are difficult to
develop, and (5) will only come about when society changes to be more inclusive
(UNESCO, 2005).

Factors that affect teachers attitudes towards inclusive education are: their previous
experience with students who are considered challenging; their training and
professional development; the support that is available to them; the size of their class;
and their overall workload (Avramidis, Bayliss, & Burton, 2000; MacArthur et al.,
2005; UNESCO, 2005).

2.6.9 Teacher Education and Professional Development


The professional development and training of teachers is an important consideration in
the exclusion or inclusion of disabled students. This is for two main reasons. First,
teachers often report a lack of knowledge and skills as a factor impeding their ability to
successfully include disabled students in their classes (Marshall, Ralph, & Palmer,
2002). Second, research consistently shows the importance of appropriate teacher
attitudes and values for successful inclusive education and that teacher training and
professional development can play an important part in developing these necessary
beliefs and attitudes. For example Avramidis, Bayliss, and Burden (2000) and
McDonald and MacArthur (2005) report that professional development in the area of
inclusive education can have a positive effect on developing teacher attitudes conducive
to the facilitation of inclusive education. Similarly, Praisner (2003) found a correlation
between school principals involvement in professional development about inclusive

40
education, and their positive attitude to disabled students. Those with positive attitudes
were more likely to provide a more inclusive education whereas those with negative
attitudes were more likely to provide restricted education. Praisner also found that the
more content around appropriate topics, the more positive principals were in their
attitude toward inclusion. However, Praisner did not specify just what these appropriate
topics were.

It should be noted that this is not necessarily the widely held belief that the professional
development needed is in the form of special training around special interventions for
disabled students (Mittler, 2000). Thomas, Walker, and Webb (1998) report that there is
no evidence to suggest that there is a separate set of practices or teaching strategies that
are required to meet the needs of disabled students. Some research shows that it may be
more effective if professional development provides participants with opportunities to
reflect on their beliefs, values and attitudes and the relationship between these and their
day-to-day practice (MacArthur et al., 2005; Mittler, 2000).

Similarly, it is reported that professional development for inclusive education, based on


special education principles, may not support teacher learning. As reported by CCS
Disability Action (2007), most in-service professional development in New Zealand
relating to disabled students originates from the Ministry of Educations Special
Education division, Group Special Education. CCS Disability Action (2007) report that
this is generally not about inclusion, but about managing problems (p. 5). However,
given that in 2007, the New Zealand Ministry of Education did not have an inclusion
policy, logically, there would be no professional development specific to inclusive
education.

Marshall, Ralph, and Palmer (2002), in a study examining teachers attitudes towards
students experiencing speech and language difficulties, recommended that professional
development for teachers focus on a commitment to inclusive education and that
attention be given to appropriate knowledge and skills. They found that teachers
perceived lack of knowledge was a barrier to their ability and reduced their confidence
to work effectively with students who experienced difficulties with speech and
language.

41
The role of initial teacher education (ITE) in creating inclusive or exclusive schools is
also reported in the literature. While some writers take a technical view, highlighting
the necessity for the inclusion of teaching strategies and skills into ITE programmes (for
example writing IEPS, preparing picture exchange communication systems and so
forth), others call for a move away from the technical approach (Slee, 2001a). Ewing
(2001) believes that many teacher education programmes have too little attention
focused on the ethical, political, social and cultural dimensions of teaching whereas, it is
these aspects of schooling that sustain the exclusion of some students. In particular
Ewing (2001) believes that teacher educators need to reflect upon the extent to which
their courses convey, often tacitly, social and political realities that encourage students
to accept, uncritically, power and hierarchy arrangements in schools. These are the
power and hierarchy arrangements that include and exclude some groups of students . In
their extensive review of the literature, McDonald and MacArthur (2005) make similar
recommendations highlighting the need for initial teacher education (ITE) programmes
to change from traditional knowledge based models, to those based on principles of
social justice and citizenship.

Kane (2005) investigated the nature and extent of ITE programmes in New Zealand
around inclusive education. She found that the majority of ITE providers did not have
clearly articulated policy around inclusion within their qualifications, and that there was
limited evidence of the degree to which ITE programmes responded to the literature on
inclusive education. She also found that the titles of many papers reflected a focus on
special needs rather than inclusion.

McDonald and MacArthur (2005) report that most teachers in New Zealand have
attended ITE programmes that have optional papers about teaching disabled children
and children who experience difficulties with learning and behaviour, and thus believe
that teaching these children in their classroom is also optional.

It is not just teachers that need to be involved in training and development around
inclusive education. Governors, politicians and decisions makers at local and national
levels need to be involved as well (Mittler, 2000).

42
2.6.10 The School Principal
There is a growing body of research examining the role of the school principal in
creating inclusive or exclusive school environments. Many studies support the notion
that principals have a vital role in the success or otherwise of inclusive schools
(Avissar, 2000; CCS Disability Action, 2007; Kugelmass, 2003; Praisner, 2003; Riehl,
2000). As creating inclusive schools often involves significant change for school
communities, principals are in a unique position to affect this change. Riehl (2000)
points out that a principal can influence what things mean (p. 60), promoting
appropriate situations and their meanings. For example at meetings, public relationship
events and school ceremonies, principals are in a position to assign inclusive meanings
to actions and beliefs, for example promoting inclusive meanings around disability and
difference (ibid). Principals are also in a unique position to model inclusive attitudes,
beliefs and practices, and the modelling of such behaviour has been shown to advance
the acceptance and inclusion of diverse student populations (Praisner, 2003). Also,
principals are in a powerful position to create a shared vision towards an inclusive
school (Ainscow, 1999; Hanson et al., 2001). Similarly, principals are in a strong
position to encourage the training and professional development paths of teachers
(MacArthur et al., 2005). As stated previously, effective professional development has
been strongly linked to inclusive schools (Avramidis, Bayliss, & Burden, 2000).

The attitude of school principals towards disabled students appears to be a very


important factor in the inclusion and exclusion of disabled students. Praisner (2003)
found that principals with positive attitudes towards inclusive education are more likely
to place disabled students in inclusive settings, whereas principals with negative
attitudes towards inclusive education are more likely to include disabled students in
more restricted environments. Praisner also found that a school principals attitude was
affected by past positive or negative experiences with disabled students.

The leadership style of school principals has also been shown to help or hinder inclusive
education. For example, Dyal (1996) found that the school principals ability to share
leadership with others was a vital factor in creating school climates conducive to
inclusion. Similarly, Education Queensland (2001) and Dyson et al., (2004) found that
leadership that was strongly focused on management did not lead to improved student

43
outcomes. Likewise, CCS Disability Action (2007) report that an inclusive school is
less likely when leadership is weak, particularly in relation to encouraging a learning
organisation within a school.

Principals are in a unique position to act as gatekeepers to the enrolment of students at


their school. This is particularly relevant for disabled students. A New Zealand study
reported that 10% of school principals surveyed indicated that they had denied
enrolment to a child with a disability (Bourke et al., 2000). These principals justified
this on the grounds of lack of trained personnel to work with disabled students, a lack of
what was considered appropriate facilities, and health and safety concerns for other
students and staff. Another group of principals indicated that while they had not actually
denied enrolment, they had discouraged it. Some principals in this study also said that
they had used delaying tactics in relation to a disabled students enrolment, hoping that
the parents might enrol their child at another school. The same study reported similar
findings from surveys with parents who reported that some school principals made it
obvious that they did not want the child by suggesting to parents that another school
would have better facilities and opportunities for their children. Parents also reported
that some principals gave them the impression that the resourcing entitlements must
come before the child could enrol (Bourke et al., 2000).

School culture has been described as one of the most important concepts in education
but also one of the most overlooked (Stoll, 1999). The school principal is in a unique
position to shape school culture in line with inclusive principles and practices (CCS
Disability Action, 2007). The nature of school culture and the part it can play in
including or excluding disabled students is discussed in the following section.

2.6.11 School Culture


While many aspects that could be considered part of a school culture (such as teacher
attitudes beliefs and management styles) have already been discussed in this literature
review, the topic of school culture is such an important one that it is worthy of
individual consideration. The notion of school culture has been linked to effective
inclusive schools (Ainscow, 1995; Alton-Lee, 2003; Carrington, 1999; Dyson et al.,
2004). It has been defined as:

44
the underground stream of norms, values, beliefs, traditions, and rituals that has
built up over time as people work together, solve problems, and confront
challenges. This set of informal expectations and values shapes how people
think, feel, and act in schools (Peterson & Deal, 1998, p. 28).

School culture is a complex phenomenon, and this complexity is in part due to the fact
that there are multiple meanings assigned to the term. Often it is used interchangeably
with terms such as school climate, ethos, atmosphere or character and these terms are
assumed to be a common phenomenon (Prosser, 1999).

Culture within a school context, exists at different levels, some of which can be
observed (for example language, rituals, symbols and customs) and some of which are
not visible and deeply embedded within organisations (e.g., values, norms and beliefs
and taken for granted assumptions). In an extensive study into the school culture of
inclusive and non-inclusive schools, Carrington and Elkins (2005) found that whereas
non-inclusive schools held notions of difference that perpetuated medical model
thinking and value judgements and maintained rigid teaching methods and school
structures, inclusive schools blurred the lines between disabled and non disabled, and
special and mainstream provisions. There was also greater sharing and collaboration
between teachers and teachers were encouraged to experiment and adapt their ways of
working.

Similarly a study by Henderson (1997) found that schools with high exclusion rates
were characterised by a management style with a narrow definition of both the teachers
role, a narrow understanding of the purposes of the school, and the schools employed
rigid, hierarchical discipline systems. Henderson recommended that the ethos of schools
be reviewed as this had a major influence on exclusion rates.

In an extensive review of the literature around how mainstream schools act in ways that
enable them to respond to student diversity to facilitate participation by all students,
Dyson et al. (2003) found school culture to be the critical factor. They found that the
norms, values and accepted ways of doing things in schools that were focused on
inclusion and inclusive principles, produced an overall enhancement in participation of
all students.

45
Corbett (1999b) reported that successful inclusion occurs only if the level of deep
culture is examined and attended to. In this study, school principals reported that
although all the planning, curriculum modification and other practices often associated
with inclusive education had occurred, this was not enough to counteract exclusion,
particularly from peer groups. Corbett believes that any definition of inclusive
education must be located within a schools culture if it is to have meaning. She
believes that locating inclusive education within the culture of the school reduces the
abstraction of the concept, thus giving it meaning to those within the school and the
school community.

Alton-Lee (2003) reports that schools that have collective perspectives regarding
curriculum, policy and pedagogy, and are safe environments for all students, show
positive outcomes for diverse students. In particular, those schools that provided safe
environments for students through active strategies to reduce bullying and violence
report positive outcomes for diverse students. The relevance of bullying to inclusion
and exclusion will be discussed in the following section.

2.6.12 Bullying
While much has been published in the area of school bullying generally, little attention
has been given to the area of school bullying and disabled students (Flynt & Morton,
2004). However, the UK Office of the Childrens Commissioner has found that disabled
children can be twice as likely as their peers to be the victims of bullying and Mencap
(a leading United Kingdom charity working with learning disabled people) reports that
nearly nine out of 10 people who experience difficulty with learning, also experience
some form of bullying, with over two-thirds experiencing it on a regular basis (National
Childrens Bureau, 2007). Similarly in New Zealand, MacArthur et al. (2007), found
that bullying was a common feature of school life for disabled children, and the New
Zealand Human Rights Commission report evidence that disabled students experience
issues of bullying in regards to their impairment (New Zealand Human Rights
Commission, 2004). As bullying has been shown to lead to exclusion (MacArthur &
Gaffney, 2001), this is an important factor associated with the exclusion of disabled
students.

46
2.6.13 Lack of Resources
It has been claimed that exclusion comes about from a scarcity of resources. For
example in a New Zealand study into the effects the Special Education 2000 policy,
Bourke et al., (2000) found that principals actively redirected students to other schools
when it was thought that the students would put pressure on their funding. Similar
beliefs were reported in another New Zealand study where teachers believed it was a
lack of funding that contributed to a discrepancy between what was received and what
was required to successfully include students with special needs (Prochnow, Kearney,
& Carroll-Lind, 2000). It would appear that in some cases, resources are seen as a
critical factor for successful inclusion, and when principals believe adequate resources
are not available, they feel justified in legitimising the exclusion of students with
disabilities. Ballard (1999c) surmises that using a lack of resources as an excuse for
excluding students on the basis of their disability is more a statement about the values
held by the excluder than a justification or explanation. From these perspectives, it is
not so much the lack of resources that is the excluder but the feeling that it is justified
to use the perceived lack of resources as an acceptable reason for exclusion that is most
telling.

Peters, Johnstone, and Ferguson (2005) report that the belief that disabled students are
excluded because of a lack of resources is a myth, with the main forces of exclusion
being attitudes, beliefs and systems that are not designed to meet the needs of diverse
students.

2.6.14 Teacher Aides


The use of teacher aides (also called paraprofessionals) is a growing phenomenon in
relation to the education of disabled students, however, as Giangreco, Edleman, and
Broer (2001) suggest, it is one of the least studied. Giangreco et al. (2001), report that
there is little evidence attesting to the efficacy of paraprofessionals for improving
outcomes for disabled students, yet the practice of assigning paraprofessionals to work
with disabled students continues and grows. They wonder how this practice has
survived and even grown over the years without strong efficacy data (ibid).

47
One of the themes in the literature in relation to the use of teacher aides is the practice
of class teachers handing over responsibility for disabled learners to teacher aides (e.g.,
Broer, Doyle, & Giangreco, 2005; Giangreco et al., 2001). This is done both willingly
and reluctantly. Similarly, Ainscow, Farrell, and Tweddle (2005) found what they
called surprising levels of importance placed on the work of unqualified
paraprofessionals. This does raise questions of assigning the least powerful and
qualified staff (paraprofessionals) to the least powerful students, and perpetuates the
devalued status of disabled students, both in the eyes of the disabled student themselves
and in the eyes of others (Giangreco et al., 2001). Similar results are reported by
Thomas, Walker, and Webb (1998). They have found that when a student is seen as the
responsibility of a teacher aide, their status is reduced in the eyes of their peers.

Literature also reports the potential of teacher aides to segregate students from their
peers. This is most apparent when teacher aides work with disabled students in isolated
areas, away from the mainstream class (Ainscow et al., 2005). This has been linked with
a lack of opportunity for disabled students to form social skills and social interactions
with their peers (Lorenz, 1998). Broer, Doyle, and Giangreco (2005) report that
paraprofessionals can act as protectors of disabled students in the playground,
particularly in relation to bullying which Broer et al. believe denies these students the
opportunities for decision making and reduces the visibility of issues of bullying.
Thomas, Walker, and Webb (1998) also report that when a student is viewed by their
peers as the responsibility of a teacher aide, they are likely to be isolated by that peer
group.

2.7 The Voice of Parents8


The literature reveals a number of general beliefs and assumptions regarding the place
of parents in relation to their childrens schooling. Some of the more commonly
reported are that parents know their children best; that parent involvement in their
childrens education is important; and that collaboration between parents and teachers is
an important practice that brings positive outcomes for their children (e.g., Howland,
Anderson, Smiley, & Abbott, 2006; Kelly, 2005; Lam, 2006). It is also reported that

8
While the term the voice of parents is used, it should be noted that there is no one voice for all parents.
Parents are individuals with multiple perspectives.

48
these beliefs and assumptions are even more pronounced and important in relation to
disabled students (Fraser, 2005). However, the literature reports mixed findings
regarding how these givens play out in reality, both in terms of parents voice in their
childs school, and parents voice in research affecting their children.

Some studies report relatively high levels of communication between parents and
schools. For example, in a survey with parents of children labelled as autistic, Spann,
Kohler, and Soenksen (2003) found that 100% of respondents to the survey indicated
that they communicated with someone at the school who was important to their childs
education. Also, 51% indicated that they interacted with school personnel on a daily
basis and 31% reported interacting with school personnel one to three times a week.
Similarly, in a 2001 New Zealand study surveying 245 parents of disabled students,
most respondents commented positively on their relationship with their childs school
and the frequency of their contact. When asked to suggest how this could be improved,
115 said that they had no suggestions, as they were satisfied (Bourke et al., 2001).

However, other studies report poor communication between parents of disabled students
and the school. In one New Zealand study, Brown (1999) quotes the following from one
advocate who draws attention to the difficulties parents of disabled students have in
ensuring their voice is heard:
What upsets me is confident articulate parents, well able to work the system, are
reduced to quivering wrecks. It riles me that we can do this to people. What
about people who cannot speak English and where it is culturally inappropriate
to buck authority? (p. 28).

Arguably one of the areas where the voice of parents would be expected to be the most
predominant is in the Individual Education Plan (IEP) process. However, in a New
Zealand study examining 159 IEP plans for the 1994 school year, Thomson and Rowan
(1995) found that only 55% of parents participated in individual education planning
meetings.

Reasons why the voice of parents can be relatively silent are varied. Ashman (2009)
reports that parents can avoid contact with the school if they see themselves as visitors
who are unwelcome, if they are not offered opportunities to learn about the school and

49
if they have negative perceptions of the school based on their own experiences as
students. Benson, Karlof and Siperstein (2008) suggest other reasons why parents of
disabled students may not be involved. A major reason they cite is based on the severity
of the difficulties their child experiences and the high levels of stress that this brings.
They suggest that because of these difficulties and stress, parents can have nothing left
to give in relation to communication and partnership with their childs school. Fraser
(2005) also reports that communication becomes difficult when schools pay lip service
to policies around parent and teacher communication; do not understand or value
parents; and treat parents as if they were impaired.

In New Zealand, the voice of Mori parents has been particularly marginalised. This is
disconcerting for a number of reasons. Central to this is that schools have important
responsibilities under New Zealands founding document, The Treaty of Waitangi9, to
ensure that Mori parents are an integral part of the school (Ministry of Education,
2000). In a study into Mori parents perceptions of Autistic Spectrum Disorder, Bevan-
Brown (2004) reported a pressing need for professionals to listen to Mori parents, and
be guided by them. Another finding by Bevan-Brown in relation to the voice of Mori
parents is a need for their culture to be considered in interactions with them and their
children (2000, 2006). The New Zealand Ministry of Education (2000) suggest that
developing more effective communication between Mori parents and schools is not
something that can be achieved with simple solutions. However they suggest that some
straightforward things have been shown to increase the voice of Mori parents. These
include ensuring that Mori place names and personal names are pronounced correctly,
that the status of Mori language is raised in the school, and the school is a warm and
welcoming place for Mori parents and whnau.

Listening to the voice of parents is vitally important in inclusive education research.


Their knowledge gives a unique perspective to inclusive education as a humanising
context (Ware, 1999), as opposed to inclusion in the way that Slee (2001b, p. 174)
critically calls technical problems to be solved. Ware also warns that research in this
area should focus on working with parents rather than working on parents. Ware
9
Signed in 1840, the Treaty of Waitangi is an agreement between the British Crown and Maori. It
established British law in New Zealand, while at the same time guaranteeing Maori authority over their
land and culture. The Treaty is considered New Zealands founding document. (New Zealand.com,
2008, page not given)

50
believes that research on parents has been the basis of special education knowledge for
the past two decades and has contributed to the exclusion of disabled students from and
within school. Brown (1999) reports that in New Zealand, the voice of parents with a
family member who is disabled is rarely heard in the literature around disability issues.

2.8 Summary
This review has examined the literature around the construct of exclusion. The review
revealed tensions in relation to the use of the term exclusion, and highlighted that it is a
complex phenomenon often explained in contradictory ways. To add to the complexity,
few writers using the term define their use of it. However, in the inclusive education
literature, the term exclusion is often used to mean the opposite to inclusion.

The review of the literature also revealed that the reasons for exclusion are complex and
interrelated. This complexity is due not only to the hidden nature of many of the forces
working against the inclusion of disabled students, but also to the unquestioned way
they are carried out and accepted.

Current research in this area places an emphasis on the contextual issues that act as
exclusionary forces. These include the marketisation of education, disability discourses,
medical model paradigms, notions of difference and the language associated with
disabled people. Within schools, the curriculum has been shown to be a powerful force
in including or excluding students, as have teacher and principal attitudes, values,
beliefs and knowledge; issues associated with funding and resourcing; student bullying;
and the inappropriate use of teacher aides. As reported in this literature review, many of
these factors are seemingly accepted unquestioningly, and form the tradition and culture
of the way things are done. The literature review also identified the importance of
human rights and social justice arguments in the area of inclusive education and
exclusion, as well the voice of parents.

The following chapter will discuss the research methodology of the study.

51
52
CHAPTER THREE
METHODOLOGY
______________________________________________________________________

3.1 Introduction
This chapter explores the methodological theory underpinning this study. A brief
exploration of some of the criticisms of traditional research in this field is provided, as
well as a discussion of the new research agendas needed to move towards more
inclusive education systems. The nature of qualitative research is examined, followed
by an explanation of the epistemological foundations, the theoretical perspective and the
methodology of the research. Finally, research ethics are considered. Practical issues
associated with the methods are discussed in Chapter Four.

3.2 Research in the Area of Inclusive Education


Research in the area of inclusive education, and specifically, disabled students has its
roots in special education research methodology. However, over the last 10 to 20 years,
this methodology has been questioned and critiqued. For example, Skritc (1991) warned
of the dire effects of traditional special education research methodologies. He
criticised their framework based on positivist paradigms, where differences between
people were considered from medical and psychological perspectives. As Skritc (1991)
pointed out:
Real progress in special education, of course, will require a different frame of
reference, a different set of assumptions, theories and metatheories. At a
minimum, it will require the special education community to take seriously the
critics of its theoretical and applied knowledge. It will require a self-reflective
examination of the limits and validity of special education knowledge and its
grounding assumptions (p. 116).

Others have added their voices in criticising traditional special education and disability
research paradigms. Notable is the work of Oliver (1992, 1996) who has argued that
traditional research agendas have reinforced negative stereotypes of disabled people and
have done nothing to improve the quality of their lives:

53
As disabled people have increasingly analysed their segregation, inequality and
poverty in terms of discrimination and oppression, research has been seen as
part of the problem rather than as part of the solution. Disabled people have
come to see research as a violation of their experience, as irrelevant to their
needs and as failing to improve their material circumstances and quality of life
(Oliver, 1992, p. 105).

This is because, historically, much research in the area of special education and
disability has been focused on the identification and remediation of deficits, and a view
that the problems faced by disabled people are a result of their impairment (Oliver,
1992). Also, this research agenda has seen a proliferation of numbers of children and
young people being labelled as having special educational needs (Corbett, 2001),
resulting in pressures on school systems for funding and resourcing.

New research agendas are required. As described in Chapter One, inclusive education is
a social, cultural and political issue; it is not an issue of individual student pathology.
Therefore, research in the area of inclusive education needs to focus on the social,
cultural and political issues that allow or disallow the development and sustenance of an
education system for all students (Slee, 2001a). As Slee, (2001b) advises, this will
require shifting the emphasis from viewing inclusive education as a set of specific
technical problems to be solved (p. 174) to an agenda of research that considers the
pathologies of schools (p. 174).

One of the suggestions for this new research agenda is participatory and emancipatory
research. Participatory research in this field involves disabled people in the research
planning and processes. Emancipatory research is controlled by them as part of a
broader process of empowerment (Zarb, 1997). While these were recognised as
appropriate research approaches for this study, neither approach was used as it was not
possible within the constraints of this project. However, Zarb (1997) believes that just
because this is not possible, it does not mean that researchers cannot exercise some
meaningful choices about how they work with disabled people. If researchers are able to
exercise control over the social relations of the research production, their research can
still achieve meaningful outcomes for disabled people. He believes that disability

54
research can only be considered transformative to the extent that disabled people are
able to use the research to facilitate changes in the status quo.

This research project aimed to empower disabled students and their parents/whnau.
The focus was on identifying some of the social, political and cultural issues that act to
exclude and marginalise disabled students from education. However, empowerment of
disabled students will require more than single research projects such as this one.
Empowering disabled students and their parents/whnau is a process. As Zarb (1997)
states, emancipation is not something with a fixed beginning and end, rather it is an
ongoing dialectical process of growth and development (p. 53). This research is
intended as a small part of that process.

3.3 Qualitative Research


Qualitative research grew from dissatisfaction with earlier forms of quantitative
research, forms of research that (in their simplest sense) examined questions that were
answered by collecting and statistically analysing numerical data, usually in unnatural
settings such as laboratories. This dissatisfaction emerged from within the quantitative
paradigm and from outside of it (Guba & Lincoln, 1998). It is not possible to describe
these factors in any depth, however as Guba and Lincoln (1998) explain, the problems
or dissatisfaction that surfaced surrounding quantitative research were associated with a
questioning of so-called objectivity in relation to facts and values. Also, dissatisfaction
with quantitative research was based on a belief that it did not place any relevance on
the context; it could not explain human behaviour because it did not attend to the
meanings and purposes people gave to the things they did; it did not include any
discovery dimension in inquiries; and was often not applicable to individual cases.

Qualitative research emerged in the social science arena in the 1960s (Bogdan &
Biklen, 2007). As with many of the terms that will be described in this section,
qualitative research can mean different things to different people and can mean different
things depending on the historical time period in which it is referred (Denzin & Lincoln,
2003). However, a general description of qualitative research is that it is a situated
activity where researchers attempt to make sense of and interpret phenomena in relation
to the meanings that people bring to them (Denzin & Lincoln, 2003).

55
Bogdan and Biklen (2003, pp. 47) have identified five key characteristics of qualitative
research (although they point out that all studies that they would describe as qualitative,
do not necessarily have all five traits to an equal degree; some may be lacking in one or
more). The first characteristic of qualitative research is that is it naturalistic: that is, it
occurs in authentic settings, which are the source of data, and the researcher is the key
instrument in collecting this data. Secondly, qualitative research involves descriptive
data: the data collected are not numbers (although, there can be some quantification of
data) but rather words or pictures. The third characteristic of qualitative research is that
it has a concern with process, not just with outcomes or with products. Fourthly,
qualitative research is inductive: data are analysed inductively as opposed to being used
to prove or disprove a hypothesis. Finally, qualitative research places emphasis on
meaning: researchers who work in qualitative ways are interested in other peoples
perspectives and meanings.

Qualitative research can include many different epistemological positions, theoretical


frameworks and methodologies and it is interdisciplinary in its nature (Guba & Lincoln,
2004). Methods common to qualitative research include observation, document review
and analysis, cultural analysis, interviews, focus group discussions and first person
accounts (Denzin & Lincoln, 2003). Qualitative research methods are those that allow
for thick descriptions of social life and social processes (Guba & Lincoln, 2004), as
opposed to surface or thin descriptions. Qualitative research seeks to make sense of
social phenomena as they occur in natural settings (Kervin, Vialle, Herrington, &
Okely, 2006). A quantitative approach on the other hand, is one that looks to find
relationships between variables, particularly, cause and effect relationships (Kervin,
Vialle, Herrington, & Okely, 2006). While this study involved some use of numbers and
statistics, the analysis was not based on a quantitative approach. This study did not set
out to uncover any statistical relationships.

This study sought to make sense of the social phenomena of school exclusion in relation
to disabled students. Therefore, a qualitative approach was selected to examine this
phenomenon. The use of a qualitative approach to research inclusive education is well
supported in the literature. For example, Danforth and Morris (2006) explain that
qualitative research encourages contextual dialogue between researchers and
practitioners about the education of students who are often subject to marginalisation.

56
They also point out that qualitative research can get to the heart of the possibilities and
shortcomings of daily practice in schools that seek inclusion (p. 145).

3.4 Theoretical Framework


Epistemology, theoretical perspective, methodologies and methods are the four basic
elements of any research process and each informs the other (Crotty, 1998). From a
researchers epistemology comes a theoretical perspective, which informs the
methodology, which in turn informs the methods used. Figure 3.1 shows this
relationship.

Epistemology

Theoretical Perspective

Methodology

Methods

Figure 3.1 The basic elements of the research process (Crotty, 1998, p. 4)

3.4.1 Epistemology
Epistemology is the study of knowledge. Epistemology concerns itself with questions
such as what is knowledge and what does it mean to know something? As Crotty (1998)
points out, there is a range of epistemological perspectives. An example is objectivism,
which purports that meaning and reality exist apart from any consciousness or any
context. From an objectivist perspective, when we see a cat and call it a cat, we are not
assigning our own meaning to it, but merely discovering a meaning that has been there
all along (Kuhn & Dean, 2004). A research project based on an objectivist epistemology
would be based on the belief of an absolute truth waiting to be discovered, a truth that

57
was not affected by subjective meanings or contexts. At the other end of the
epistemological spectrum is subjectivism. From a subjectivist epistemology, meaning is
arrived at by the subject imposing meaning on the object (Kuhn & Dean, 2004).

This research project was based on an epistemological stance that is somewhere in the
middle of objectivism and subjectivism, that of constructionism. Constructionism is
based on the understanding that all knowledge, and therefore all meaningful reality, is
contingent upon human practices, and that the knowledge and reality is constructed in
and out of interaction between human beings and their world (Crotty, 1998). Further,
this knowledge and reality is developed and transmitted within a social context (ibid).
The difference between constructionism and subjectivism is that researchers do not start
with nothing (as subjectivism would have it), they start with the people and objects in
the world (Crotty, 1998). The difference between constructionism and objectivism is
that researchers do not start with the belief that there is an absolute knowledge or truth
waiting to be discovered and that this truth is independent of the context or subject (as
objectivism would have it). Researchers are part of constructing that knowledge, and the
subject and object are inextricably related, both having an effect upon the other. From a
constructionist perspective, objects or phenomena cannot be described in isolation from
the conscious being experiencing it (Crotty, 1998). Similarly, experiences cannot be
adequately described in isolation from its object or phenomena (ibid).

This epistemological perspective was particularly relevant for this study which took the
perspective that the meanings around ideas such as disability, inclusion and exclusion
are socially and culturally constructed, in and out of the interaction between people and
their world. Constructionism was also relevant to this study because for any meaning to
be ascribed to exclusion, there must be a relationship between the concept of
exclusion and subjects, for example, exclusion from what? exclusion of whom?
exclusion by whom?

3.4.2 Theoretical Perspective


The theoretical perspective describes the philosophical stance that informs a chosen
methodology. The theoretical perspective that informed all aspects of this study was
critical inquiry or critical theory. Critical theory was developed by a group of writers at

58
the Institute of Social Research at the University of Frankfurt. Originally, critical theory
was based on the purpose of Marxism which was to oppose the bourgeois society and
(in comparison to traditional theory) as a theory that seeks to change a situation rather
than a theory that merely reflects the current situation (Peters, Lankshear, & Olssen,
2003). Critical theory was designed to hasten developments that reduce injustice in
societies (Peters, Lankshear, & Olssen, 2003).

The origins of critical theory can be traced back to the thoughts and writing of Karl
Marx (18181883) although the theoretical base of critical theory was broadened by
Horkheimer and his colleagues at the Institute of Social Research at the University of
Frankfurt. They moved away from a focus on the economy, which was prevalent in the
writing of Marx, to a more humanistic and philosophical reference (Peters et al., 2003).
They considered that it was not only economic oppression and exploitation by the
bourgeois that needed to be critiqued (as suggested by Marx) but also other repressive
forces associated with modernisation and representations of modernity (Peters, et al.,
2003).

Although the literature provides differing explanations of critical theory, Kincheloe and
McLaren (2003) have provided a useful interpretation and reconceptualisation of critical
theory for the 21st century. They outline the following premises of critical theory:
Critical theory:
Analyses competing power interests between groups and individuals within a
society identifying who gains and who loses in specific situations.
Attempts to expose the forces that prevent individuals and groups from
shaping the decisions that crucially affect their lives to achieve greater
degrees of autonomy and human agency.
Recognises that there are multiple forms of power including racial, gender,
sexual forms of domination. Economic factors are also important in shaping
everyday life.
Recognises the concept of hegemony as central to critical theory and an
understanding of the various and complex ways that power operates to
dominate and shape consciousness. Power can be productive or oppressive.
Recognises that language is not a mirror of society; it is an unstable social
practice whose meaning shifts, depending upon the context in which it is

59
used. Language is not a neutral and objective conduit of description of the
real world. Rather from a critical perspective, linguistic descriptions are not
simply about the world but serve to construct it. Critical theorists study the
way language in the form of discourses serves as a form of regulation and
domination (pp. 437443).

Critical theory as a theoretical perspective is particularly appropriate for this research.


Critical theory is directly related to issues of power and justice, as was this research,
which hypothesised that exclusion is a phenomenon associated with power and
injustice. Critical theory is concerned with uncovering competing power interests and
exposing forces that prevent subjugated individuals from making decisions, as was this
research, which sought to uncover and expose the forces that support the exclusion of
marginalised groups. Critical theory is concerned with the unconscious processes that
bring about resistance to any change, as was this research, which sought to examine
resistance to inclusive education. Critical theory is concerned with the power of
language, as was this research, which hypothesised that language is a powerful tool of
exclusion.

Finally, the words of Emeritus Professor John Codd of Massey University are
particularly relevant. He urges educational researchers to involve themselves in the
practice of rigorous robust criticism of educational practice. This, he believes, is a pre-
condition for the growth of knowledge and improvement of practice in the area. He
recommends the use of critical theory as a solid base for such work (Codd, 2007).

3.4.3 Methodology
Methodology describes the research strategy and plan of action. All phases of this study
were based on grounded theory methodology. However, while the research was strongly
influenced by grounded theory, particularly in regards to allowing the theory to develop
from the data no research can be completely true to a theory or concept and this was the
case with this research.

Grounded theory is a qualitative research method. It uses a systematic set of procedures


to develop an inductively derived theory about a phenomenon (Strauss & Corbin, 1990).

60
Grounded theory focuses on how individuals interact in relation to the phenomenon
under study (Dey, 1999). The basic tenet of grounded theory is that a theory must
emerge from the data not the other way around where a theory is taken and data are
gathered to prove or disprove this theory.

Research questions based in grounded theory are open and general and, as Charmaz
(2005) points out, the emerging theory should account for a phenomenon that is
problematic and relevant for those involved. This was the case in this study, where the
phenomenon of school exclusion of disabled students was problematic and relevant for
disabled students and their families. Grounded theory involves choosing forms of data
collection that yield information useful in generating a theory. The sampling is
intentional and focused on the generation of a theory (Creswell, 2005). This study
therefore sought to examine the nature of school exclusion in relation to disabled
students, questionnaires and interviews with disabled students10 and their parents were
planned as the first source of data because these people directly experience this
phenomenon and can speak from first hand experience.

Initial sources of data are very important to grounded theory as each stage of data
gathering informs and focuses the next. In this study the data were collected in three
phases, each one informing the other. No decisions regarding the nature of the second
phase were made until data from the first stage was gathered and examined. Similarly
data from phase two informed phase three, and decisions regarding the nature of phase
three were not made until phase two data had been collected and examined. Grounded
theorists begin their analyses early and this helps them to focus their further data
collection (Charmaz, 2005). Where this study deviated from true or original11
grounded theory is that the literature was used to influence the initial data gathering.
Themes from the literature regarding exclusionary forces for disabled students at school
were used in the initial parent questionnaire. However, there were also open questions
to allow respondents to provide their own account of the exclusion their child had
experienced at school.

10
Initially, it was planned to interview disabled students, however, this did not eventuate. See section
4.2.1 for an explanation.
11
Glaser and Strauss, 1967.

61
Analysis of data using a grounded theory methodology involves three processes. First is
open coding where researchers form initial categories of information about the
phenomenon being studied. The second process involves axial coding where the
researcher refines, develops and relates the open codes into categories. Here the
researcher may position each open code at the centre of the process being explored (the
core phenomenon) and then relate other categories to it. The final processes involve
elective coding, where the researcher writes a theory from the interrelationship of the
categories in the axial coding model12. The resulting theory can be reported as a set of
propositions, or in the form of a narrative (Dey, 1999).

Grounded theory was the methodology chosen for this study for three reasons. First,
little is known of the nature of school exclusion in relation to disabled students.
Grounded theory provided a vehicle for developing some understanding around this
phenomenon. Secondly, grounded theory allows for the incremental development of the
research with each phase informing the next. Planning this entire research project from
the outset would have been impossible as very little was known of the phenomenon and
the researcher was unsure of what parents and disabled students would report in the
early phases. Finally, grounded theory is well suited to research around issues of social
justice. As Charmaz (2005) points out, social justice inquiry is one area where
researchers can fruitfully apply grounded theory methods. She states that researchers
working in a grounded theory methodology involve themselves in:
developing increasingly abstract ideas about research participants meanings
actions and worlds and seeking specific data to fill out, refine, and check the
emerging conceptual categories. Their work results in an analytic interpretation
of participants worlds and of the processes constituting how these worlds are
constructed. Thus, they can use the process emphasis in grounded theory to
analyse relationships between human agency and social structure that pose
theoretical and practical concerns in social justice studies (p. 508).

12
More detailed information about the specific nature of the data analysis used in this research is
provided in Chapter 4.6.

62
3.4.4 Methods
Questionnaires and interviews (semi-structured individual, and focus group) were the
two methods of data collection used in this study. Phase one involved the use of a web
questionnaire (see Appendix C1) with parents of children who had experienced barriers
to inclusion, followed up by a semi-structured interview with a random stratified sample
of parents who had completed the web questionnaire (see Appendix D1). Phase two
involved a postal questionnaire to school principals in three geographical areas of New
Zealand (see Appendix C2) followed up by semi-structured interviews with a random
stratified sample of school principals who agreed to participate in the interview process
(see Appendix D2). Phase three involved interviews with teachers, in one school (see
Appendix D3). It also involved a focus group interview with a group of teacher aides
(see Appendix D4) and a group of year-6 students in the school (see Appendix D5). It
was also intended to include observations and document analysis as forms of data
analysis in phase three, but due to difficulties experienced, this was not possible. This
will be discussed further in Chapter Four. The specific nature of, and procedures for,
conducting the questionnaires and interviews, as well as information on sampling and
the make-up of the research population and interviews will also be discussed in Chapter
Four.

The rationale for the use of a web questionnaire with parents was four-fold. First, web
questionnaires are a quick and expedient way of procuring information from a
geographically wide spread population. There is little or no cost involved (for either
party) and the data from the questionnaires are returned automatically to the researcher
via email or the web, with no need for separate data entry. The second rationale for the
use of a web questionnaire is that New Zealand has one of the highest rates of internet
access in the world (Statistics New Zealand, 2004). Figures from the 2006 New Zealand
Census show that 60.5% of households in New Zealand could access the internet
(Statistics New Zealand, 2006). This meant that many parents would have access to the
questionnaire via the internet. Thirdly, web questionnaires were a reasonably
unthreatening way for parents to share their, and their childs, experiences with the
researcher. Finally, web questionnaires allowed the researcher to enter into a
conversation with respondents, and they were used to provide a starting point for the

63
identification of interesting and relevant themes that may be followed up in the
subsequent interviews that are so important for grounded theory.

Postal questionnaires were the tool of choice for gathering data from school principals
in phase two of the research. Again, convenience and expediency were major factors in
the choice of this method. Additionally, because of their anonymous nature,
questionnaires are more likely to elicit truthful responses: respondents are free to
answer in their own time and at their own pace and any influence from the presence of
the researcher is reduced (Burns, 2000). As with the rationale for the use of
questionnaire with parents, questionnaires allowed data to be gathered in a safe
environment for respondents and they provided a starting point for the identification of
interesting and relevant themes that may be followed up in subsequent interviews.

Questionnaires also have limitations. These include difficulty securing an adequate


response; not being able to follow up on unreturned anonymous questionnaires; skewed
or biased samples; questions appearing vague or ambiguous to respondents; and the
researcher not being present to explain the intended meaning. Questionnaires also do
not provide an opportunity to follow up on interesting data and they have limited use
when exploring complex social phenomena (Burns, 2000; Marshall & Rossman, 1999).
The latter is particularly relevant to this study. Exclusion is an extremely complex
phenomenon, therefore questionnaires are not likely to elicit in-depth answers to
complex questions. However, in this study they were used to first enter into a
conversation with potential respondents, and secondly to provide a starting point for
interesting and relevant themes that may be followed up in subsequent data gathering.

Interviews were used to collect data in all phases of the research. Bogdan and Biklen
(2003) suggest that interviews are used to gather descriptive data in the participants
own words. This way the researcher can develop insights into how subjects interpret the
phenomenon under study. The term interviewing implies a wide diversity of forms
and a variety of uses (Fontana & Frey, 2003). The main types of interviews are
structured, semi-structured and unstructured.

In structured interviews, the researcher asks all respondents the same series of
predetermined questions and there can often be a predetermined coding system for

64
responses (Fontana & Frey, 2003). Advantages of structured interviews include that
they can take less time than unstructured interviews; they provide uniform information;
data analysis can be simple and quick; and they allow for accurate comparison if pre
and post data is collected (Bell, 2005; Kumar, 1999). Disadvantages include that there is
little flexibility in the way that questions can be asked, the interviewer does not have the
flexibility to follow up on important responses; and the respondent cannot tell their
story in their own words (Bogdan & Biklen, 2003; Fontana & Frey, 2003; Kumar,
1999). Bogdan and Biklen, (2003) also suggest that if the interviewer controls the
content of the interview too tightly, the interview can fall out of the qualitative range.

In contrast, unstructured interviews are used to explore general themes. The questions
are posed spontaneously during the interview, based on the responses of the
interviewee. Kumar (1999) suggests that this type of interview is very useful when little
is known about a phenomenon or area under investigation. Also, unstructured
interviews can produce extremely rich data. However, disadvantages include that if
more than one person is being interviewed, questions asked of those respondents early
in the process may be very different from those asked of respondents at the end of the
process. Also, it is difficult to make any comparisons between respondents, and the
freedom afforded by unstructured interviews can introduce interviewer bias (Fontana &
Frey, 2003; Kumar, 1999).

Semi-structured interviews are used to collect qualitative data. The focus of the
interview is decided by the researcher, with predetermined broad questions based on
that focus. Usually, these questions are open-ended and there is no ordering of questions
(Burns, 2000). Semi-structured interviews are useful for eliciting respondents own
ideas and opinions on a topic. This is in contrast to structured interviews, where
predetermined questions lead respondents towards preconceived choices (Zorn, 2008).
The rationale for semi-structured interviews is that the only people who understand the
phenomenon in question (the focus of the interview) is the person themselves. An
interviewer cannot hope to devise a rigid interview structure that encapsulates this
(Burns, 2000). However, a researcher may have some key themes that they wish to
investigate. In contrast to unstructured interviews, semi-structured interviews allow for
this approach. Another advantage to semi-structured interviews is that there is flexibility
for both interviewee and interviewer. The interviewer can follow up on points of

65
interest, and the interviewee is able to provide information based on their perspective.
(Burns, 2000; Fontana & Frey, 2003; Marshall & Rossman, 1999).

The other form of interview relevant to this study is the focus group interview. These
interviews consist of a group discussion that focuses on topics provided by the
researcher. Questions are asked of the whole group. Focus group interviews are almost
always qualitative and the typical size is between 8 and 12 participants (Gomm, 2004).
Some advantages of focus group interviews are that: group interaction is possible, and
one persons comments can trigger a variety of useful responses; it is an expedient way
to gather data from more than one person; and it allows the researcher to see how group
members respond to other peoples positions and opinions (Bell, 2005; Bouma, 2000;
Cozby, 2004). Some of the disadvantages of focus group interviews are that: one
member of the group can influence others, it is difficult to attribute particular comments
to individuals; transcripts cannot be returned for correction by the participants; and
anonymity between participants is not possible (Bell, 2005; Cozby, 2004; Gomm,
2004).

The type of interview that a researcher chooses depends on the research goals (Bogden
& Biklen, 2003). This project used semi-structured interviews (see Appendix D for all
interview schedules) because they gave insight into a very complex and often emotional
phenomenon (exclusion) from the perspective of those people who have close
experience of it. They also allowed participants to explore the phenomenon of exclusion
and to look back on their experiences. Semi-structured interviews also enabled greater
flexibility for both interviewee and interviewer, with the interviewer being able to
follow up on points of interest at the time of the interview, and the interviewee being
able to provide their perspective based on what they considered relevant and important
(Burns, 2000; Fontana & Frey, 2003; Marshall & Rossman, 1999).

3.5 Research Ethics


As social science research involves gathering data from people, questions of research
ethics are important considerations. The main considerations are that human beings
should be treated with respect, they should not be harmed in any way, and they should
be fully informed about what is happening to them or with them as part of the research

66
process (Oliver, 2003). To ensure that research participants are treated with respect,
fully informed, and not harmed by the research process, it is important to consider some
key ethical principles13.

3.5.1 Informed and Voluntary Consent


Informed consent is one of the most important principles of research ethics. It is based
on the need for participants to enter into research voluntarily, while understanding the
nature of the research and any disadvantages or obligations that may be involved
(Bogdan & Biklen, 2003). The Massey University Code of Ethical Conduct Involving
Human Participants (MUCEC) (Massey University, 2004), states that there are four
elements that make up the principle of informed consent, these are:
Information on which to make the decision;
Comprehension of the information;
Competence to make a decision and give formal consent;
Absence of pressure or coercion

It is important to ensure that potential participants have full and open information about
what their participation will involve and what will be expected of them (Clark, 1997).
This information must be in a manner that is comprehensible to potential participants.
The MUCEC (Massey University, 2004) states that this information should be in
written form, however, this may not always be ideal, and if so, information should be in
a style that is appropriate to the potential participants. Information can be given orally,
for example if potential research participants are unable to read, or when it is culturally
appropriate to provide information in this way. If written information is being provided,
it should also be provided in potential participants first language.

There may be some research participants without the degree of understanding necessary
to give their informed consent to participate in research. Young children and people
who experience difficulties with cognitive functioning are examples and are considered
vulnerable research populations. Oliver (2003) suggests that, while researchers need to
be careful not to be condescending towards these people, or make unwarranted

13
The practical application of these principles is discussed in section 4.7.

67
assumptions about their competence, they either need to help them to understand the
nature and extent of the research, or take advice as to whether it is ethical to continue.
Snook (1999) suggests a third alternative; to seek vicarious consent. However, Snook
argues that this is only acceptable if there are significant benefits from the research and
there is no risk at all to the participants. In the case of children, this consent may be
obtained through their parents or caregivers. However, children also have the right to be
heard, and participate in decisions affecting them as outlined in the United Nations
Convention on the Rights of the Child. Therefore, researchers should always provide
appropriate information to children, and seek the informed consent of children
themselves whenever possible (Munford & Saunders, 2001).

The principle of informed consent implies that participation in research is voluntary and
there is an absence of pressure or coercion (Clark, 1997). Tolich and Davidson (1999)
believe that this is easy to accept in principle but more difficult to ensure in practice.
For example in some instances, even though potential participants are assured
participation is voluntary, these participants may feel some coercion to participate, for
example, a teacher asking their class to be part of their research, or a doctor asking their
patient. In both these cases potential participants may feel an obligation to participate.
Researchers need to ensure that there is no covert pressure felt by potential participants.
To do this, Tolich and Davidson (1999) suggest the careful wording of information
sheets so as to empower the potential participant. This ensures that potential participants
are given clear messages that they have a right to refuse to participate without any
negative consequences.

The principle of informed consent includes the avoidance of unnecessary deception.


Note the term unnecessary for as Snook (1999) believes, there are some kinds of
social research that cannot be carried out without some degree of deceit. In these cases,
the researcher needs to justify whether the potential information that could be gained is
worthwhile enough, if there is no harm to the participants, and the deceit is not
motivated by a desire to invade a persons privacy. Snook believes that it is
questionable if deceit in research can ever be justified.

It can be argued that informed consent is seldom possible because this would mean that
participants would need to know as much as the researcher, and this is rarely possible

68
(Snook, 1999). However, if researchers ensure that potential participants have
information that is comprehensible; that there is an absence of pressure or coercion to
participate in the study; and that appropriate steps are taken when potential participants
may not have the competence to give informed consent; their research if more likely to
adhere to this important principle.

3.5.2 Anonymity and Confidentiality


Anonymity and confidentiality are cornerstones of research ethics. However, an
examination of the literature around these two important ethical terms, uncovers much
variation and contradiction in relation to their meanings. For example Oliver (2003),
describes anonymity in research as respondents being given the opportunity to have
their identity hidden in a research report (p. 77). However, Bell (2005, p. 48), defines it
as a promise that even the researcher will not be able to tell which responses came
from which respondent. In a more pragmatic way, Salkind (2009) states that
anonymity in research means that records cannot be linked with names (p. 82).

Similar discrepancies are evident in the literature associated with the term
confidentiality. Wiles, Crow, Heath, and Charles (2006) define confidentiality in
research as assuring someone that what has been discussed will not be repeated (p. 1).
Salkind (2009) describes confidentiality as when anything that is learned about the
participant is held in the strictest of confidence (p. 82). Wiersma and Jurs (2009)
define confidentiality as the researcher not disclosing the identify of the participants or
indicating from whom the data were obtained (p. 438).

As there was an expectation that this research study would adhere to the MUCEC
(Massey University, 2004), clarification was sought from this code. Unfortunately,
neither of these terms was defined in this code; rather they were used in such a way as
to assume a shared understanding of their meaning. Because of the contradictions and
lack of shared understandings around these terms, it is very important that a researcher
is clear of the meanings that they assign to these terms and share these with the research
participants14. When researchers fail to be clear about the meanings they ascribe to

14
Clarification of the meanings ascribed to the terms anonymity and confidentiality in this study are
provided in section 4.7.2.

69
confidentiality and anonymity, serious misunderstandings between participants and
researchers can result (Bell, 2005).

Despite this confusion, the importance of protecting participants privacy is vital.


Revealing private unauthorised information to third parties without research participants
consent breeches any interpretation of the principles of anonymity and confidentiality
(Clark, 1997).

There are a number of advantages of respondents having their identity unknown


(including to the researcher). One such advantage is that respondents may feel freer to
give their opinions knowing that they can never be attributed to them. This is
particularly relevant if the respondent is being asked something that may cause them
embarrassment or harm if their responses were attributed to them. Oliver (2003) also
believes that when respondents identity is protected, it is easier for the researcher to
explore sensitive issues. However, there are also disadvantages of protecting the
identity of respondents. These include that the respondent may wish to be identified;
they may wish to have further contact with the researcher (for example an opportunity
to review their responses and make changes); and if participants wish to withdraw from
the study, the researcher would need to know which data to withdraw (Oliver, 2003).

If researchers themselves know the identity of participants, but make an undertaking to


participants to take all reasonable measures to keep their identity known only to them,
they should take this undertaking very seriously and do everything in their power to
uphold it (Oliver, 2003).

It is unfeasible to promise participants that their data will not be shared with anyone
(Wiles, Crow, Heath, & Charles, 2006). However, researchers must be explicit and
truthful to participants about who will have access to the data, the researchers plans for
using and retaining the data, and how the data will be stored (Oliver, 2003).

3.5.3 Beneficence
The principle of beneficence refers to the need for research to maximise the benefits and
minimise any possible harmful effects (Cozby, 2007). Potential harm to participants

70
from participating in research can include psychological, emotional or physical harm,
and loss of confidentiality (Cozby, 2007; Dunn, 1999). Dunn (1999) reports that mental
or psychological risk is likely if people are asked to disclose very private aspects of
their lives. It is also likely if at the end of the research, the participants discover that
they have been deceived regarding the true purpose of the research. The risks of
emotional harm are greatest however, where subjects are vulnerable (Gomm, 2004). As
described earlier, vulnerable groups include those who may not be able to give informed
consent to participating in the research.

The researcher also needs to consider the potential harm of not conducting the research
(Cozby, 2007). This may involve issues of such seriousness that research is urgently
required to alleviate suffering or harm. Medical research is one area where this is likely
to occur.

Most researchers would like to believe that their research is designed to bring about
some good to those participating in the research. Potential benefits to participants as a
result of participating in research can include acquisition of a new skill or knowledge,
treatment or intervention for a difficulty or problem, and less tangible benefits such as
satisfaction (Cozby, 2007; Dunn, 1999).

However, Wilkinson (2001) asks the question who is to judge whether the benefits of
research outweigh the harm as people differ in how they value the effects of research?
He supports the notion of research ethics committees as the appropriate forum in which
to do this. Bell (2005) concurs, stating that while their gate-keeping role is not always
welcome, they have important roles to play, particularly around issues of beneficence.

71
3.6 Research Overview
Table 3.1
Overview of the research project

OVERVIEW OF THE RESEARCH


Phase One Phase Two Phase Three
Epistemological Constructionism Constructionism Constructionism
Perspective

Theoretical Critical Inquiry/ Critical Inquiry/ Critical Inquiry/


Perspective Theory Theory Theory

Methodology Grounded Theory Grounded Theory Grounded Theory

Methods Questionnaires (web Questionnaires (via Semi-structured


based) mail) interviews
Semi-structured Semi-structured Focus group
interviews interviews interviews

Participants Parents School Principals Students


Teachers
Teacher aides

Setting World wide web Various school One school


(questionnaire) environments environment
Home of parents/
whnau (interviews)

Period of time February 2005 to April September 2005 to JulyOctober 2007


2005 March 2006

3.7 Summary
The chapter has provided an exploration of some of the criticisms of traditional research
in this field as well as a discussion on the new research agendas needed to move
towards more inclusive education systems. The nature of qualitative research was
examined and an explanation of the epistemological foundations, the theoretical
perspective and the methodology of this research study was provided. This study was
based on a constructionist epistemology and used the theory of critical inquiry as the
basis for the research. Grounded theory was the methodology employed in all phases.

72
The data gathering techniques used in phase one and two were questionnaires and
interviews. The data gathering techniques used in phase three were interviews,
including focus group interviews.

The following chapter provides an explanation of the practical aspects of the


methodology.

73
74
CHAPTER FOUR
METHODS
______________________________________________________________________

4.1 Introduction
The methods of a research project are those actual techniques or procedures that
researchers use to gather the data needed to answer their research questions (Crotty,
1998). This chapter describes how the research methods outlined in the previous chapter
were used in this study. It also provides details of the research populations in each
phase, and how they were selected. Data analysis methods are explained. Finally, the
ethical principles considered for this study are described.

4.2 Phase One


Phase one of this study involved surveying parents of disabled school age children who
had been excluded from or within school. Two data gathering methods were used: a
web questionnaire and follow-up interviews.

4.2.1 Research Population and Sample


Short advertisements were placed in New Zealand parent disability magazines and
newsletters. The advertisements invited parents and/or whnau of students who had
experienced exclusionary pressures or barriers to their inclusion in school to log onto a
web address and complete a short questionnaire (see Appendix A1 for an example of
the advertisement). Sixty-three people completed and submitted the questionnaire. At
the end of the questionnaire, respondents were invited to indicate their interest in
participating in a follow up interview. Over 80% of respondents (51) indicated that they
would like to participate in a follow-up interview. A random stratified sampling
procedure was used to identify 12 participants. The population of 51 respondents who
had indicated a willingness to be interviewed was stratified according to the identified
main barrier their child experienced to being included at school (main pressure of
exclusion). Then, from each stratification, every fifth willing participant was randomly
chosen. Every fifth respondent was chosen as it was calculated that this ratio would
procure a sample of approximately 12 (63 divided by 5) and this would be a
manageable number. Random stratified sampling was chosen to obtain maximum

75
differences of perceptions about the topic of exclusion or barriers to inclusion.
McMillian and Schumacher (1997) describe this type of sample as the most useful form
of qualitative research sampling as it allows representation of subunits of the research
problem (p. 398).

All 12 selected interview participants were sent information sheets (see Appendix B1)
and, if in agreement to proceed with the interview, consent forms to sign (see Appendix
E1). Three people either changed their mind about participating in a follow up
interview, or did not respond to the second invitation. In these cases, the next
participant on the stratified list was chosen. While all parents were asked if their child
could also be interviewed, every parent except one, declined to allow their child to be
interviewed. Data from the interview with this one child have not been included in this
thesis as very little information was gained.

All parent interview participants were given the option of a face to face interview or a
telephone interview. All chose face to face. Table 4.2 shows the geographical location
of the interview participants.

Table 4.1
Geographical location of parent research participants
PARTICIPANTS GEOGRAPHICAL LOCATION
Participant one South Canterbury
Participant two Nelson
Participant three Wellington
Participant four Nelson
Participant five Western Bay of Plenty
Participant six Dunedin
Participant seven Auckland
Participant eight Wellington
Participant nine Auckland
Participant ten Wellington
Participant eleven Bay of Plenty
Participant twelve Wellington

The interviews were audio taped with the permission of participants.

76
4.2.2 Data Gathering Tools
The web questionnaire consisted of 14 questions, including questions related to gender,
date of birth and area of need or disability. There were also questions seeking to probe
the nature of the exclusion experienced, where this happened and how it was
experienced (see Appendix D1). As this was the first phase of the research project, the
themes for the questionnaire were derived from the literature review, although there
were also open-ended questions where respondents were able to give their own
interpretation. The questionnaire was piloted with a parent of a disabled child to
determine its suitability for parents and to test the effectiveness of the questionnaire
procedures (this parent did not form part of the final research population). Small
changes were made to the wording based on the feedback from this parent.

The interview consisted of three main themes. The first was exploring participants
understandings and opinions of inclusive education, what it meant to them and the
importance (or otherwise) they placed on it. The second theme explored in depth, the
major barrier to their childs inclusion that they had identified in the web questionnaire.
The final theme was an open question asking participants to make comment or discuss
issues or difficulties their child had experienced at school.

4.3 Phase Two


Phase two of the study involved surveying school principals in three geographical
regions in New Zealand first by way of a questionnaire, then with follow-up interviews.

4.3.1 Research Population and Sample


In total, 143 questionnaires were posted to school principals in three geographical areas
of New Zealand. These areas were chosen due to their accessible proximity to the
researcher. Knowing that the interview population and later (in phase three) a single
school would be derived from this sample, increased the requirement that proximity was
an important consideration. The number of questionnaires returned completed was 47.
This was a relatively low response rate, and in relation to secondary schools, only three
secondary school principals returned a completed questionnaire. Possible reasons for
the low response rate include school principals being too busy to complete the

77
questionnaire or with little interest in issues related to inclusive education. Table 4.2
provides background information regarding the sample.
Table 4.2
Principal questionnaire: Background information of research participants
Gender Male 21
Female 23
Not stated 3

Age 2030 1
3140 5
4150 17
5160 20
60+ 3
Not stated 1

Number of years teaching 410 7


1120 10
20+ 30

Teaching Sector Primary 34


Intermediate 1
Secondary 3
Full primary 6
Primary/Intermediate/Secondary 2
Not stated 1

At the end of the questionnaire, respondents were asked to indicate their willingness to
participate in a follow up interview. Of the 47 respondents who returned the
questionnaire, 18 indicated that they would be prepared to be interviewed. Sixteen of
these respondents were principals of a primary school and one was an area school
principal15.

As with the phase one interview sample, a random stratified sampling procedure was
used to identify the school principal interview participants. Two differing samples were
required based on principals attitudes towards inclusive education. One sample needed
to include principals who believed in the principles of inclusive education. The other
sample needed to include principals who did not believe in the principles of inclusive
education. Important factors associated with exclusion would be more obvious and
juxtaposed where two groups differed in their basic premise around inclusive education.

15
An area school is a school which has classes from Year-0 to Year-13.

78
In order to obtain these two samples, the population of 18 respondents who had
indicated a willingness to be interviewed was stratified into two main groups, those who
agreed or strongly agreed with the statement in question 27 of the principal
questionnaire that Regular schools should meet the needs of all who are disabled (8
participants) and those that did not agree or strongly agree with this statement (10
participants, 4 of which disagreed or strongly disagreed and 6 who were unsure). The
group of 8 was listed alphabetically based on their surname, and the first five chosen.
This group was called the x group those who agreed that regular schools should meet
the needs of disabled students. To determine the composition of the second group, all
four who disagreed or strongly disagreed with question 27 were automatically chosen,
and a fifth person was chosen from those who were unsure of their response to this
question. This was done alphabetically based on their surname. This group was called
the y group those who did not agree, or in the case of one person, who were unsure if
regular schools should meet the needs of disabled students. A sample size of 10
interviewees was decided as being manageable as well as sufficient to follow up in
more depth, the barriers or exclusionary forces identified in phase one of this study.

All 10 selected interview participants were sent information sheets (see Appendix B4)
and, if in agreement to proceed with the interview, consent forms to sign (see Appendix
E1) and a copy of the interview themes/schedule (see Appendix D2). All interview
participants were given the option of a face to face interview or a telephone interview.
All interviews were face-to-face, nine taking place at the school and one at the home of
the principal. Table 4.4 shows the demographic data of the school principal interview
participants.

79
Table 4.3
Principal interviews: Demographic data of research participants
Participants Gender Age School Sector Special Education Facilities
One Male 4150 Primary
Two Female 4150 Primary
Three Male 5160 Primary
Four Male 60+ Primary
Five Male 5160 Primary
Six Male 4160 Primary Special needs unit
Seven Male 5160 Primary
Eight Female 4150 Primary
Nine Female Not stated Primary Special needs unit
Ten Female 4150 Pri/Int/Sec Special needs unit

The interviews were audio taped with the permission of participants.

4.3.2 Data Gathering Tools


The school principal questionnaire consisted of 76 questions (see Appendix C2). These
were derived from both the literature review and the themes that had emerged from the
parent questionnaire and interviews. These included:
68 likert scale questions exploring issues associated with teacher knowledge,
attitudes and practices;
six questions designed to elicit demographic information;
one question asking respondents to rate significant barriers to inclusion; and
one open question seeking any further comments.

The questionnaire was piloted with a teacher who gave feedback on its suitability for
use with school principals and to test the effectiveness of the questionnaire procedures
(this teacher did not form part of the final research population).

The interview was organised around four main themes (see Appendix D2). The
questions in each area were derived from the literature review, the parent questionnaire
and interviews, as well as the data gathered from the principal questionnaires. These
themes were: participants attitudes and values associated with inclusive education;
participants perceptions of barriers to school inclusion; participants perceptions of

80
enablers to inclusive education; and participants perceptions of specific contextual
issues identified by parents as acting to exclude their children from or within school.

4.4 Phase Three


Phase three of this study involved interviews with teachers, teacher aides and students
in one of the schools whose principal had taken part in the principal interview in phase
two. Originally, it was intended that observations and document analysis would also be
used to gather more in-depth information about the phenomenon of exclusion, however,
due to a lack of teachers volunteering to be part of these data gathering procedures, this
could not be carried out.

4.4.1 Research Population and Sample


The school was selected from the group of 10 principals who had participated in the
principal interviews in phase two. As these principals were listed alphabetically for the
purposes of the interviews, it was decided to choose the school by simply inviting the
first principal on the list. However, the researcher knew this principal and many of the
staff at the school (outside of the professional setting). Therefore the second school
principal on the list was invited to participate. Initially, a phone call was made to gauge
his interest. This was followed up with a formal letter, outlining the research and
requesting a meeting (see Appendix F7). Because of the sensitive nature of this
research, it was made clear to the principal that if those at the school did agree to
participate in the research, this could involve the identification of exclusionary attitudes,
beliefs and practices. The researcher also requested a meeting with all staff at the school
to outline the research and gain their informed approval and consent. Information sheets
about the research were handed out to all staff members at a regular staff meeting (see
Appendix B5) and time was given to answer any questions staff may have had. The
research commenced when informal consent was gained from the school principal and
all staff. Further information regarding the ethical considerations of this aspect of the
research is discussed in section 4.7.

All teachers in the school (excluding the school principal who had already been
interviewed in phase two) were given an information sheet about the research and
invited to participate in an interview (7 teachers) (see Appendix B5). Four teachers

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accepted this invitation. All interviews were audio taped with the permission of the
participants.

Information sheets outlining the research and invitations to participate in a focus group
interview were sent to all five teacher aides in the school (see Appendix B8). All
teacher aides accepted this invitation. The focus group interview took place between
8.30 am and 9.30 am at the school. The focus group interview was audio taped with the
permission of all the participants.

Information sheets and consent forms were given to the class teacher of the year 5 & 6
class to send home to all 13 year-6 students parents/whnau/caregivers (see appendices
B6, F11 & E4). Six consent forms were returned. These six students were then invited
to participate in the focus group interview. Information sheets were given to them and
read aloud (see appendix B7). Students were asked to sign a consent form if they agreed
and wanted to participate (see appendix E5). All students agreed to participate. The
focus group interview took place between 9.00 am and 10.30 am at the school. The
focus group interview was audio taped with the permission of all the participants.

The school was a coeducational contributing primary school with approximately 150
students. There were eight teachers on the staff including the principal, deputy principal
and assistant principal. The school had a special education unit on the site for which
there was one teacher, and five teacher aides.

4.4.2 Data Gathering Tools


Two data gathering tools were used in this phase of the research: semi-structured
interviews with classroom teachers (see appendix D3) and focus group interviews with
teacher aides (see appendix D4) and year-6 students (see appendix D5).

The teacher interview was organised into four main areas (see Appendix D3). The
themes in each area were derived from the literature review, the parent questionnaire
and interviews, and information from the school principal questionnaires and
interviews. These themes were: attitudes and values associated with inclusive
education; barriers and enablers to school inclusion; their knowledge and confidence

82
and the role that this plays in successful inclusive education; and participants
perceptions of specific contextual issues identified by parents as acting to exclude their
children from or within school.

The teacher-aide focus group interview was organised into five main areas (see
Appendix D4). The themes in each area were derived from the literature review, the
parent questionnaire and interviews, and information from the school principal
questionnaires and interviews. These themes were: the role of the teacher aide within
the school; attitudes and values associated with inclusive education; barriers and
enablers to school inclusion; the role of teacher knowledge and confidence in
facilitating inclusive education; and specific contextual issues identified by parents as
acting to exclude their children from or within school.

The student focus group interview explored students perceptions of their school, their
teachers, what school was like for them, and what happened to kids who were disabled
or different (see Appendix D5).

4.5 Summary of Data Gathering Methods Across all Phases and


Rationale for their Use
Table 4.4 summarises the data gathering methods used across the three phases of the
research and provides the rationale for their use.

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Table 4.4
Summary of data gathering methods and rationales
Method Details of procedure Rationale
Questionnaire Phase one To identify the barriers to school
Web questionnaires completed by inclusion experienced by disabled
63 parents of disabled children children and their parents.
who had experienced exclusion at
school.
Phase two To follow up and explore the barriers
Postal questionnaires completed by identified by parents. To gain an
47 school principals in three understanding of barriers to school
regions in NZ. inclusion from the perspective of school
principals.
Semi-structured Phase one To gain an understanding of parents
Interviews Semi-structured interviews with perspectives of exclusion. To identify
12 parents selected from the the barriers their children had
63 parents who submitted a web experienced.
questionnaire.
Phase two To follow up and explore the barriers
Semi structured interviews with 10 identified by parents in phase one. To
school principals selected from the explore the perspective of the school
47 school principals who principal in relation to barriers to school
completed a postal questionnaire. inclusion for disabled students. To
explore the role of the school principal
in the exclusion of students who are
disabled.
Phase three To explore teachers perspectives of
Semi structured interviews with barriers to school inclusion for disabled
4 class teachers. students. To follow up teachers
perspectives of the barriers identified by
parents in phase one. To explore the role
of the teacher in the exclusion of
students who are disabled.
Focus Group Phase three To explore the perspectives of a group
Interviews A focus group discussion with of students/ teacher aides in relation to
6 students from one school. barriers to school inclusion for disabled
students. To follow up the barriers
A focus group discussion with identified by parents from the
5 teacher aides from one school. perspectives of a group of students/
teacher aides. To explore the role of
students/teacher aides in the exclusion
of students who are disabled.

4.6 Data Analysis


The quantitative data from the two questionnaires (Parent [phase one] and school
principal [phase two]) were analysed using the computer software statistical package

84
SPSS. Although a statistical package was used to analyse data from the questionnaires,
only basic frequency tables were produced; no statistical measures apart from frequency
were used. Similarly, only descriptive statistics were focused on, not inferential
statistics. Descriptive statistics summarise patterns in the responses of people in a
sample. Inferential statistics provide an idea about whether the patterns from any
sample are likely to apply in the population from which the sample was drawn (de
Vaus, 2002).

Qualitative data from all the interviews were transcribed and then entered into the
software programme, NVivo(7). An adaptation of an analysis model by Boyatzis (1998)
and Bailey (2007) was used. This model is based on an inductive or data-driven
approach to thematic analysis (in keeping with grounded theory data analysis methods)
where the researcher immerses themselves in the data, allowing the themes to emerge.
Transcriptions were first read to provide an initial familiarisation with the data. No
coding was done at this stage, although some memoing (Bailey, 2007; Boyatzis, 1998)
was carried out. Memoing involves the researcher writing memos or notes to
themselves regarding any insights they derive from the data.

At the second reading, data were given an initial code. The term code often implies a
number or a symbol to represent something. This was not the case at this early stage of
the data analysis. Similarly, coding (as it is applied to qualitative data analysis) can
often imply looking for, and giving a theme to the data. Again, this was not the case at
this stage of the data analysis. Patterns and themes were not sought, but rather the data
were coded based on descriptions to organise a large amount of information into
smaller parts for later retrieval and focused coding (Bailey, 2007). Some comments
from participants had more than one code. For example participant 11 (phase one) said
the following:
Yeah, that if there is a problem, they look at the problem and again the only
solution they see is to put a teacher aide onto it. So that the very fundamental
simple level of going out to any house sports or ah school activities out on the
field, they know [name of child] will need support so they put a teacher aide on.
And of course that separates her from everything. They know that they dont
want me to go to school events in the evening with her to support her cos they
know that I will actually block relationships with other people, with peers. But

85
they cant switch their thinking to see that theyre doing just the same every time
that they put a teacher aide on the case.

This passage was given three codes: (1) the use of teacher aide separating child from
relationships with peers; (2) the school belief that for participation to be possible, a
teacher aide is needed; and (3) if there is a problem, the schools first idea for a solution
will involve the use of a teacher aide. After all data from the parent interviews were
coded, over 100 (codes) descriptions were formulated.

The next stage of the qualitative data analysis involved what Bailey (2007) calls
focused coding. Here, identifying and combining the initial coded data into larger or
broader categories that subsumed multiple codes, further reduced data. Bailey (2007)
explains:
This focused coding involves kicking the raw materials in the field notes and
transcriptions up to a level that facilitates your ability to make analytical insights
into the setting. This level might involve connections to previous research on the
topic, concerns of the researchers discipline, or theoretical concepts (p. 130).

The results of focused coding should allow the researcher to attach to conceptual codes
to concrete experiences and words (Bailey, 2007), such as, in the area of inclusive
education, marginalisation, alienation, social control and so forth.

In order to take the analysis process one step further, a taxonomy of the data was
produced. Table 4.5 provides an example of one section of the taxonomy from the
qualitative data of the parent questionnaire.

86
Table 4.5
Example of data analysis taxonomy
Theme No of Example of transcript
respondents
Abuse/ Teacher General non specified 6
bullying bullying teacher bullying
Child humiliated by 6 but then also people
teachers were reporting to us that
she [child] was being
intimidated and abused
and embarrassed by this
same teacher (P1)
Teachers shouting at child 2
Teachers encouraging other 2
children to abuse/bully
child
Teacher physically abusing 1
child
Teachers not allowing other 1
children in the class to help
child
Teacher harassing siblings 1
of child
Student General physical and 10
bullying emotional student bullying
Other Child left in soiled pants 1

Principal Principals trying to section 2


threatening 9 child
parents

4.7 Ethical Considerations


Ethics are a vitally important part of any research process and a consideration of ethics
serves to reduce the likelihood of harm being experienced by anyone involved in the
research process. This study adhered to the Massey University Code of Ethical Conduct
for Research Teaching and Evaluations Involving Human Participants (MUCEC)
(Massey University, 2004). The ethics of each stage of the research (phase one, two and
three) were considered separately. A full application was made to the Massey
University Human Ethics Committee in relation to the first phase of the research. Phase
two of the research involved a low risk notification to the Massey University Human
Ethics Committee. In discussion with colleagues and supervisors, this phase of the
research was judged low risk by meeting the guidelines as set out in the Massey

87
University Human Ethics Screening Questionnaire. A full application was made to the
Massey University Human Ethics Committee for the third phase of the research.
The principles that were considered in relation to this study were: informed and
voluntary consent (including the avoidance of unnecessary deception); respect for
anonymity and confidentiality; minimisation of harm to participants, researchers,
institutions and groups; and social and cultural sensitivity (Massey University, 2004).

4.7.1 Informed and Voluntary Consent


Full information was given to all participants in the form of written information sheets.
These adhered to the guidelines as set out by the MUCEC (Massey University, 2004).
In the case of the interviews and focus group discussions, this information was also
given verbally. As well as this, clear contact details were provided to participants of
both the research and her supervisors in case participants wished to clarify anything
about the research (see Appendix B for copies of the information sheets).

In relation to the interviews, participants were given the opportunity to discuss the
details of the research and ask any questions before the start of the interview. In relation
to the student focus group interview, the information was given in child friendly
language. The information was given in both written form and orally. At no stage were
participants coerced into taking part in the research. Apart from the researcher making
an initial approach to the principal of a potential school for phase three, information was
given to all potential participants in written form, before the researcher made any
contact with them.

The principle of informed consent includes the avoidance of unnecessary deception.


Deception played no part in this study. All participants were given truthful and full
information regarding the purposes and procedures of this research project.

4.7.2 Anonymity and Confidentiality


As described in section 3.4.2, there is variation and contradiction in the literature around
the terms anonymity and confidentiality. For the purpose of this research, the term
anonymity was used to mean that any data gathered during the process of the research

88
would not be linked with names, or with any other factors that would identify the
research participants (Salkind 2009). In order to protect the anonymity of the
participants in the study, a number of safeguards were used. Information that was
gathered was stored in a locked office and identification codes were used. No real
names were used on any printed material, or audio material. When reporting the data, all
participants were assigned a number. When describing the background information of
participants, care was taken not to divulge any information that could identify them, or
in the case of parents; their children, and in the case of teachers, teacher aides and
students; their school.

Issues of anonymity are problematic in relation to focus group interviews. All


participants are likely to know the identity of fellow participants, and are privy to the
data shared by them. Therefore, while no data from the focus group were reported in
such a way that could identify participants, participants were made aware that
anonymity within the group could not be assured.

For the purpose of this research, the term confidentiality was used to mean that what
was discussed was not repeated or publicised in any way, and kept in confidence (Wiles
et al., 2006). Therefore, confidentiality was not offered to research participants in this
study, as it would be impossible to keep. As Wiles et al. (2006) states, in the research
context, confidentiality as it is commonly understood makes little sense (p. 1). This is
because unless researchers are going to keep all data to themselves, and not publish it in
theses or articles, they cannot offer confidentiality.

As a person other than the researcher transcribed the interviews, that person was
required to sign a confidentiality agreement (see Appendix G). This meant that the
transcriber agreed to keep in confidence all data that were transcribed. It should be
noted that the transcriber did not have access to names of people, places or schools.

4.7.3 Minimisation of Harm


Researchers have an ethical obligation to ensure that they identify any potential for risk
or harm to participants. The MUCEC outlines four types of harm: physical,
psychological, social and economic and provides the following examples: pain, cultural

89
dissonance and exploitation, distress, fatigue, stress, and embarrassment. There was the
potential for harm to participants in this study. In phase one, parents may have suffered
psychological harm in recalling experiences of their childs exclusion and rejection.
This was minimised by ensuring that participants knew their rights in regarding not
having to answer any questions that they felt uncomfortable with, or withdrawing from
the study at any time up to three months after participation. Also, information outlining
the names and contact details of support and advocacy groups was passed on to
participants in an information sheet (see Appendix H).

In all phases of the study, potential harm was identified in relation to anonymity. In
particular, potential for harm was identified for professional participants in phase two
and three of the study if participants anonymity was compromised. Similarly, potential
harm was identified for parent respondents in phase one of the study if their anonymity
was compromised. Therefore, all efforts were taken to protect the anonymity of
participants, and these are discussed in section 4.7.2.

The third phase of the study had other specific issues associated with potential harm. As
this phase of the study was specifically examining exclusion, this meant that
exclusionary factors related to individuals and the school would likely be identified and
reported. The effect of this was minimised first by bringing this likelihood to the
attention of potential participants prior to seeking their consent to participate, and
second, by taking all measures to protect their anonymity as discussed in section 4.7.2.
The third factor that was employed in an effort to mitigate or minimise any potential
harm was to outline to potential participants an intention to develop resources for
schools that identify the barriers to school inclusion and provide suggestions to
overcome these.

No harm to participants in relation to physical, or economic issues was identified.


Similarly, no harm to the researcher was identified.

4.7.4 Social and Cultural Sensitivity


Any research carried out in New Zealand must pay particular attention to the specific
ethical issues associated with research involving the indigenous people of New Zealand,

90
the Maori. As Jahnke and Taiapa (1999) point out, historically past research has proven
to be of little worth to Mori people, and also detrimental to them. The Massey
University Code of Ethical Conduct (Massey University, 2004) states that to be
culturally sensitive in research assumes that there is an appreciation of the attitudes and
values of specific cultures, and also a sensitivity to those things that constitute the
cultural property and traditions of specific ethnic groups. If researchers are to work with
people from cultures other than their own, they must have an appreciation of these
factors.

In relation to this study, there was no intent to deliberately conduct the research with
persons from ethnic groups other than that of the researcher. However, there was a
chance that this could happen, particularly with the participation of Mori. The
researcher therefore made preparations to consult with Mori researchers in the
University if this eventuated. The likelihood of being culturally insensitive to the
specific ethical issues associated with research with Mori was also lessened because
one of the research supervisors was Mori. She was able to review all data gathering
procedures and tools with particular reference to any aspects that may be insensitive,
cause offence or prove disadvantageous to individual Mori, or Mori people in general.

4.8 Summary
This chapter has described the research methods that were employed in this study. This
included the procedures for procuring the research population; the ethical issues
involved in this research; the data gathering and data analysis tools used in each phase;
and the data analysis methods.

Phase one involved a web questionnaire and follow up interviews with parents of
disabled children who had experienced exclusion from or within school. Phase two
involved a postal questionnaire and follow-up interviews with school principals. Phase
three was focused in one school and employed two data gathering tools: semi-structured
interviews with teachers, and two focus group discussions, one with a group of year-6
students and one with all teacher aides employed in the school.

91
The computer statistical programme SPSS was used to assist with the analysis of the
questionnaire data. Basic frequency tables were produced. The computer software
programme NVivo(7) was used to assist with the analysis of the interview data. The
interview analysis procedures used were based on an adaptation of an analysis model by
Boyatzis (1998) and Bailey (2007).

The study addressed the ethical principles as outlined in the Massey University Code of
Ethical Conduct for Research, Teaching and Evaluations involving Human Participants
(Massey University, 2004). The following chapter presents the findings of the study.

92
CHAPTER FIVE
RESULTS
______________________________________________________________________

5.1 Introduction
This chapter presents the results of all three phases of the research. Phase one employed
a web-based questionnaire and follow-up interviews with parents of disabled children
who had experienced exclusion at school. Phase two used a questionnaire and follow up
interviews with school principals. Phase three was carried out in one primary school and
involved questionnaires and follow-up interviews with class teachers, a focus group
interview with a group of teacher aides and a focus group interview with a group of
year-6 students.

Key to grounded theory methodology is the generation of theory from data and the
continual data analysis through the data collection phase. This allows for the
identification of key elements of a phenomenon (in this case the phenomenon of
exclusion) and for the systematic increase in density of the data around a phenomenon.
This was the intention of this research. Each phase would inform and focus the next,
identifying themes and elements for further exploration. The data from phase one of the
study formed the early foundation for the subsequent themes that were to be explored in
phases two and three.

5.2 Phase One: Parent Questionnaire Results


In total, 63 parents completed a web questionnaire. As this study was situated in a
qualitative paradigm, and because there was no intent to determine the relationships
between variables, particularly causal relationships as is often the case with quantitative
research, only basic statistical techniques were used to analyse this data. The results of
the qualitative data are presented as tables and text with accompanying participant
quotes as examples.

Respondents were asked to identify the main area of their childs need. Table 5.1
outlines this data. While not provided as choices in the questionnaire, Asperger

93
Syndrome and Autism were specified by a significant number of respondents.
Therefore, these categories have been included in Table 5.1.

Table 5.1
Parent questionnaire: Main area of need
Main Area of Impairment Frequency Percent
Intellectual 19 30
Asperger 9 14
Behaviour 8 13
Autism 6 9
Speech and/or communication 5 8
Multiple/complex needs 5 8
Physical 3 5
Emotional 3 5
Hearing 2 3
Social 2 3
Visual 1 2
TOTAL 63 100

Respondents were asked to identify their childs present level of schooling. Table 5.2
summarises this information. Over half the respondents indicated their child attended a
primary school, and nearly one quarter of the respondents indicated their child attended
a secondary school. Only 6% of respondents indicated that their child was at a special
school or facility.

Table 5.2
Parent questionnaire: Present level of schooling
Present Level of Schooling Frequency Percent
Primary 34 54
Intermediate 10 16
Secondary 14 22
Special School 1 6
Not at school anymore 4 2
TOTAL 63 100

A list of 27 barriers was presented to respondents. As this was the first phase of the
research, the barriers were identified from the literature. Respondents were asked to
choose the 10 most common barriers to being included at school their child had
experienced.

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Table 5.3
Parent questionnaire: Common barriers experienced
Responses
Common Barriers Frequency Percent
Teachers not being knowledgeable about the special needs of 43 69
my child
Lack of funding 37 60
Lack of teacher aide time 35 56
Poor attitude of class teacher 33 53
Poor attitude of the school principal 30 48
Lack of adaptation of my childs school work 25 40
My child being bullied or harassed 24 39
Lack of school policies around meeting the needs of students 24 39
with special needs
Discrimination on the basis of their special need 22 36
Inadequate school policy on inclusion 20 32
Child not having friends 19 31
Poor attitudes of the other students at the school 18 29
Not including me as a parent 18 29
The teacher not giving my child enough of their time 16 26
The actual disability of my child 15 24
Being segregated from the regular class 14 23
My child not being wanted by the school 14 23
My child being treated unfairly by those in control at the 13 21
school
My child not being valued by the school 13 21
The physical environment of the classroom 12 19
Lack of caring by staff 12 19
Focusing only on the things my child couldnt do 12 19
Too many children in my childs class 11 18
Inadequate physical resources 10 16
The physical environment of the school 10 16
Poor attitudes of the other parents at the school 9 15
Not enough pastoral support in the school 3 5

The most common barriers identified by parents were: lack of teacher knowledge; lack
of funding and teacher aide time; and the poor attitude of teachers and principals, all
being identified by nearly 50% or more of respondents. Lack of adaptation and bullying
were also identified as barriers by nearly 40% of respondents. Those factors that acted
to exclude students least were: too little pastoral support at the school; the poor attitude
of parents; an inappropriate physical environment of the school; and inadequate
physical resources.

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Respondents were asked to nominate ONE barrier that they considered the most
powerful in acting to exclude their child at school. Table 5.4 presents the most
frequently identified barriers and their frequency rates.

Table 5.4
Parent questionnaire: Most powerful barrier experienced
Barrier Frequency Percent
Lack of teacher/principal knowledge and/or understanding 26 41
Lack of funding and/or resourcing 12 19
Poor attitude of the teacher/principal 8 13
Lack of teacher aide time 7 11
Bullying 7 11
Not having friends 2 3
Lack of adaptation to curriculum 1 2
TOTAL 63 100

Respondents were then asked to explain the barrier, how their child experienced it and
give a specific example of what happened. All responses to this question were analysed
using the qualitative data analysis software programme Nvivo(7).16 Asking respondents
to provide an in-depth explanation of the exclusion that their child had experienced at
school revealed a more complex account of the phenomenon than the single choices
from the quantitative section of the questionnaire had allowed, and therefore the
analysis presented in the following section deviate from the basic seven categories
outlined in Table 5.4. Analysis revealed eight major themes, which are initially
presented in Tables 5.5 to 5.12, then subsequently described in more depth with
accompanying quotes from participants as examples. These themes are:
1. Abuse and/or bullying
2. Teacher knowledge and understanding
3. Enrolment and attendance
4. Curriculum access and participation
5. Physical segregation
6. Communication
7. Funding
8. The value placed on child

16
See Chapter Four, section 4.6 for an in-depth explanation of the data analysis methods employed.

96
As respondents identified more than one barrier in their explanations, the total from
Tables 5.5 to 5.13 are greater than 63.

Abuse and/or bullying


The most common theme to emerge from parents explanations of their childs
exclusion was associated with abuse and/or bullying. Analysis of the parent
questionnaire identified 32 responses related to this theme. Table 5.5 presents these
findings.

Table 5.5
Parent questionnaire: Issues associated with abuse and/or bullying
Theme No of
responses
Abuse/ General physical and emotional bullying by peers 10
bullying General non specified teacher bullying 6
Child humiliated by teachers 6
Teachers shouting at child 2
Teachers encouraging other children to abuse/bully child 2
Principals trying to section 9 child 2
Teachers not allowing other children in the class to help child 1
Teacher physically abusing child 1
Teacher harassing siblings of child 1
Child left in soiled pants 1
TOTAL 32

Ten parents reported bullying and abuse by peers. This included physical and emotional
bullying:
Physical leg being hung up on a peg in the cloakroom, ridiculed, shunned,
having his lunch squashed, having his personal items stolen or wrecked, clothes
ripped. Emotional being shunned by peers, laughed at. (Parent 29)

Lack of understanding, prevention and acknowledgement of the high levels of


peer bullying in schools, particularly high school level. (Parent 42)

In regards to teacher bullying and abuse, humiliation was a major factor, however
shouting, encouraging other children to bully the child and principals threatening to
section 917 children were also reported. For one parent, the acceptance of teacher
bullying by other staff at the school was difficult to understand.

17
Section 9, 1(a) of the 1989 New Zealand Education Act states that parents may be directed to enrol
their child in a special education facility or receive a special education service.

97
One teacher in particular at primary school added to the bullying [child was
being bullied by peers] herself, ridiculing him and segregating him in front of
the whole class on more than one occasion, calling him stupid. (P 30)

Students at school with staff instruction placed [name of child] in the centre of a
large circle of students. The students in the circle were told by staff to each tell
[name of child] what it was that they didnt like about him. (Parent 58)

The bullying and harassing was done by the classroom teacher. Tolerance
among the teaching staff and principal of inappropriate behaviour towards my
daughter e.g. throwing a pen that hit my daughter, kicking her chair while
seated on it, pushing her out a door, yelling at her for no reason, making her
turn off her hearing aids at certain times, lack of deep investigation by ERO
and Ministry of Education when complaints reported to them and subsequent
lack of action even though an independent report clearly identified wrong doing
on the part of the teacher, principal and BOT. Continual cover-up by the BOT
even though they knew of another same unacceptable incident by the same
teacher. (Parent 17)

Teacher knowledge and understanding


The second most common theme to emerge from parents explanation of their childs
exclusion was associated with a lack of teacher knowledge and understanding. Table 5.6
presents the major issues associated with this theme.

Table 5.6
Parent questionnaire: Issues associated with teacher knowledge and/or understanding
Theme No of
responses
Teacher Teachers did not recognise needs and meet those needs 7
knowledge and Teachers who saw problem only residing within the child 4
understanding General unspecified lack of understanding by teachers 3
Lack of teacher knowledge of autism 3
Teachers not accepting child had impairment 2
Low teacher expectations of child 2
General lack of teacher knowledge 2
Teachers not learning about childs needs 2
TOTAL 25

The major issues associated with this barrier were predominantly an unwillingness or
reluctance on the part of teachers to recognise the specific needs of children and meet
those needs:
It was in the way she was dealt with by staff, how they attended to problems that
surfaced, their reluctance to do anything to help, their unwillingness to step
outside their comfort zone. Their inability/unwillingness to understand her
difficulties. (Parent 32)

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Parents also reported medical model thinking (which locates difficulties children
experience at school as residing solely within the child) as a major barrier to their
childs learning and participation at school:
Any issues were always identified as our sons, not as stemming from the class
teacher. (Parent 41)

The previous school were of the belief that our sons behaviour was due to his
disability and to the impact of adolescence. We were unable to convince the
school that we did not believe that the problems he was experiencing were
totally attributable to this. (Parent 11)

Enrolment and attendance


Issues around enrolment and attendance were problematic for some of the parent
respondents and this was the third most identified barrier in this section of the
questionnaire. Table 5.7 reports on the issues associated with this theme.

Table 5.7
Parent questionnaire: Issues associated with enrolment and attendance
Theme No of
responses
Enrolment and Parents told they have to keep their child at home if there is 8
attendance no teacher aide cover
Child only permitted to attend school for part of day 2
Parents phoned to come and take child home during school 2
hours
School enrolment only permitted with conditions 1
Parents felt pressured to take child out of school 1
Child suspended or expelled from school 1
TOTAL 15

Parents identified a number of issues in relation to enrolment and attendance. This


included principals permitting conditional enrolment (for example only at times that the
child could be independent); principals permitting children to attend school for only
part of a day or week; parents feeling pressure to take their child out of school when
there were any problems or issues; and, in one case, a principal suspending a child from
school.
We have been told that he has to go home when the teacher aide does because
he takes too much to keep an eye on. (Parent 41)

He was turned down on application at one school. Another principal wanted to


give him only two weeks to settle down. He showed no understanding of his
illness or needs. (Parent 52)

99
We were told that we would have to find times when he could be independent or
we would have to keep him at home from school for half of each day. (Parent
64)

Curriculum access and participation


Issues associated with curriculum access and participation were also identified by
parents as barriers to their childs presence and participation at school. This included
access and participation to all aspects of school curriculum, including assessment. Table
5.8 presents the issues associated with this theme.

Table 5.8
Parent questionnaire: Issues associated with curriculum access and participation
Theme No of
responses
Access to Lack of accommodations 7
learning Child denied access to learning materials 1
Regular assessments not carried out with child 2
Teacher did not plan learning programme for child 1
Teacher did not take responsibility for teaching child 1
Children left to do nothing if teacher aide not present 3
TOTAL 15

The issues associated with this theme included children being denied access to learning
opportunities, and in particular, lack of accommodation and adaptations being made so
that children could access the curriculum. Two parents reported that the learning of their
children was not assessed as it was for non-disabled children. One parent reported that
the teaching of her son was largely undertaken by his peers.
There was a lack of recognition by the classroom teacher on the need to modify
curriculum to include our child in similar activities to those the other children
were doing. (Parent 51)

No initial school entry assessment was ever undertaken by the class teacher, in
fact no records were maintained by the class teacher at all, the teacher aide
wrote the end of year report. (Parent 43)

His peer group took over his teaching in the afternoon by sharing work and
reading stories. The classroom teacher was not held accountable for not taking
responsibility for our sons learning. (Parent 41)

100
Physical segregation
Issues related to physical segregation were identified as a barrier, with 11 responses
emerging from parents explanations of their childs exclusion. Table 5.9 presents the
issues associated with this theme.

Table 5.9
Parent questionnaire: Issues associated with physical segregation
Theme No of
responses
Physical Being grouped or timetabled with other disabled children 2
segregation Not being included in the normal classroom/school programme 3
Being physically segregated within the class 3
Doing work different from the mainstream 2
Excluded at break times 1
TOTAL 11

Issues associated with the theme of physical segregation included being physically
segregated within and outside the class, not being included in the normal class or school
programme, having to do work that was different from the mainstream, and being
excluded at break times.
She was not allowed to be included in core subjects with her year-9 form class.
(Parent 23)

Being removed from the classroom for individual instruction in a large storage
cupboard. (Parent 43)

His skill base lies in sport, swimming, art and music. These were scheduled after
he was to have left the class. This showed a lack of consideration of where he
could fit in easily in the class. (Parent 41)

Communication
An analysis of parents explanations of their childs exclusion revealed 10 responses
associated with communication issues. Table 5.10 presents the issues associated with
this theme.

101
Table 5.10
Parent questionnaire: Issues associated with communication
Theme No of
responses
Communication Parents advice not listened to 8
Lack of communication to parents 1
Lack of information sharing 1
TOTAL 10

The issues associated with this theme included parents feeling that they were not being
listened to, and that they did not have their knowledge and experience as parents
respected. Two parents reported schools refusing to access support from agencies such
as Ministry of Education: Special Education (GSE)18. One parent reported that a class
teacher would not read any of the material she provided. A barrier for one parent was a
lack of information sharing between professionals and between the teacher of one year
and the next.
The staff consistently refused to access support from GSE. The offer of advice,
support from us as parents and our sons previous teacher aide who had worked
with our son for seven years was ignored. (Parent 11)

Some teachers and the principal showed absolutely no interest in learning about
his condition and how to adjust their teaching style to suit him or to ensure his
safety in the playground. I was told that he could not be treated differently to
anyone else and that the injuries in the playground were his own fault. (Parent
6)

Our child was excluded but so were we as the parents and as the years go by,
principals, schools and teachers are just becoming better at it. For example, the
IEP process was supposed to be the vehicle where we expected our views to be
respected and implemented but we were continually disregarded and ignored. It
was the schools way or no way and their way was just to receive the funding
with no interest in the well being of our child or accountability for outcomes.
(Parent 61)

Funding
A further theme to emerge from parents explanations of their childs exclusion was
associated with funding. Table 5.11 presents the issues associated with this theme.

18
The section of the Ministry of Education where staff focus on, strengthening and improving the
educational opportunities and outcomes for children with special educational needs Ministry of
Education, 2008).

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Table 5.11
Parent questionnaire: Issues associated with funding
Theme No of
responses
Funding Parents asked to fund teacher aide hours 2
Funding application difficult 2
School diverted childs teacher aide hours 2
General lack of funding 1
Not receiving all allocated teacher aide hours 1
Being denied ORRS19 funding 1
TOTAL 9

Parents reported being asked by the school to fund teacher aide hours; schools diverting
the teacher aide hours allocated to their child to other uses; and difficulty in completing
the funding application forms. While twelve parents indicated lack of funding as one of
the barriers in the quantitative section of the questionnaire, only two parents indicated
this as the major barrier, and no parents mentioned this in the qualitative section of the
questionnaire.
The principal kept trying to divert funds allocated to the school for my child into
other areas of the school which didnt affect her. I had several meetings with
support staff from the various agencies and the principal, and he eventually
redistributed the funds to help my daughter. (Parent 1)

The responsibility was put back to us as parents to provide extra resources, pay
extra teacher aide hours. (Parent 41)

The value placed on the child


The final theme to emerge from parents explanations of their childs exclusion was
associated with the lack of value parents believe schools placed on their child. Table
5.12 presents the issues associated with this theme.

Table 5.12
Parent questionnaire: Issues associated with value placed on child
Theme No of
responses
Value placed on Child not wanted by the school 3
child School thinking child was a nuisance 2
Teachers angry at having to have child in their class 1
TOTAL 6

19
Ongoing Reviewable Resourcing Scheme is a funding mechanism for individual students who are
verified as having high or very high needs. Funding is allocated to schools for teacher and teacher aide
time as well as for professional support and intervention.

103
It could be argued that the theme of lack of value placed on the child, played a part in
all the themes reported by parents as barriers to their childs inclusion at school. Three
parents described how their child was not wanted by a school, two believed that the
school thought their child was a nuisance and one parent explained that the class teacher
was angry at having to have her child in their class.
The negative attitude towards our child created the school culture that allowed
discrimination and bullying (a learnt behaviour). It was not part of the school
culture for our child to be valued or wanted. This situation can only evolve
because there is an attitude to allow it to happen or to deny it is happening.
(Parent 61)

We have to continually fight to get teaching staff that are willing to have him in
their class without seeing him as a nuisance. (Parent 34)

While not reported as a separate theme, issues associated with teacher aides were
prevalent in a number of themes. This included schools denying school enrolment, or
restricting school attendance unless they considered there were sufficient teacher aide
hours; disabled children being isolated from the peer group with a teacher aide; and a
lack of teacher aide funding. These issues are reported separately under the themes of
enrolment and attendance, access to learning, and funding.

5.2.1 Phase One Parent Questionnaire Summary


When asked to nominate the one barrier that was most powerful in excluding their
child, a lack of teacher knowledge and/or understanding was the barrier most commonly
identified. This was followed by a lack of funding and/or resourcing; poor attitudes of
teachers and principals; a lack of teacher aide time; bullying; and a lack of adaptation.
When asked to describe in more detail their childs experience of exclusion, analysis of
the data revealed a number of issues. These included issues of abuse and bullying which
was a predominant theme to emerge. Parents also described a lack of teacher knowledge
and understanding, that their knowledge and opinions were not listened to, that teachers
felt no desire or need to up-skill themselves in meeting the specific needs of some
children, low expectations, and medical model deficit thinking associated with disabled
students. Also reported were instances of disabled children being denied access to
learning and the curriculum.

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Results from this initial stage of the research indicated a number of issues associated
with teacher aides. Parents reported a belief on the part of some teachers and principals
that disabled children could only be present and participate at school if they had teacher
aide hours allocated to them. This was reported in regards to initial enrolment in a
school; the time that a child was allowed to be at school; and whether a child could
have their learning and social needs met in a classroom (all three only allowed if a
teacher aide was present). Also associated with teacher aides was the issue of funding.
While a lack of teacher aide funding is often reported in the literature as a major
barrier to school inclusion, only 12 out of 63 parents reported this as the main barrier
their child had experienced. For the parents who identified funding as a major barrier,
this was associated with them being asked to fund their childs teacher aide, the school
diverting their childs teacher aide allocation, and the difficulty of the funding
application. Exploring the understanding, role and function of teacher aides was
highlighted as important theme for follow-up in the subsequent phases of the research.

5.3 Phase One: Parent Interview Results


Of the 63 parents who completed a questionnaire in phase one of the study, 51 indicated
an interest in participating in a follow up interview. Twelve of these parents were
chosen to be interviewed.20 For all 12 parents who were interviewed, multiple factors
were reported as contributing to their childs exclusion at school.

Results from analysis of the parent interviews are presented as tables and text with
accompanying participant quotes as examples. Seven main themes emerged and are
analysed within this section. These are:
1. Knowledge and understanding of professionals
2. Curriculum access and participation
3. Teacher and principal behaviour towards parents
4. Enrolment, attendance and segregation
5. Abuse and/or bullying
6. Caring and valuing of child
7. Funding

20
For an explanation of the sampling procedures employed in this phase of the research, see section 4.2.1.
For a summary of the background information of the sample, see table 4.2.

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Knowledge and understanding of professionals
Issues associated with a lack of understanding and/or knowledge on the part of teachers
and school principals was a major theme to emerge from the analysis of the parent
interviews. Eleven of the 12 parents interviewed identified some aspect of this theme.
Table 5.13 presents these findings.

Table 5.13
Parent interview: Issues associated with knowledge and/or understanding
Parents
Descriptors P1 P2 P3 P4 P5 P6 P7 P8 P9 P10 P11 P12
Lack of principal knowledge
about inclusion
Class teacher did not want to
learn about needs of child
Teachers did not understand
needs
Lack of teacher training

School did not understand


impact on family
School saw problem only
residing within child and family
No belief on part of teachers that
child could learn
Teachers held low expectations
of child
Lack of knowledge on part of
GSE
Lack of understanding that a
teacher aide can exclude child
from mainstream

Issues associated with knowledge and understanding were reported by parents in


relation to: teachers, school principals, Board of Trustees, the Education Review Office
(ERO) and the Ministry of Education (MoE). By far the biggest issue was associated
with lack of knowledge and understanding on the part of the teacher and school
principal. For example:
His brain doesnt quite work like everybody elses does, he gets tiredjust
remember that sometimes he might need a bit of support instead of pushing him
too hardI know when hes been pushed, I know if hes had a bad day, he
comes in and hides for two hours before he will even talk. What they do, they
dont realise how much it impacts us as a familythey just need to be more
supportive. (Parent 1)

106
One parent believed that improved understanding of her child would benefit all disabled
students, particularly in relation to valuing these students:
We need to increase our understanding and we need to actually listen and
challenge each other and understand each other and make some ideas and help
people move in their understanding about the value of the child in the school.
Do that for [name of child] youll have a better understanding for how many
other kids in the school. (Parent 11)

For some parents the lack of teacher knowledge and understanding was associated with
the specific needs of their child. For three parents, this lack of knowledge on the part of
teachers was even more frustrating when teachers appeared not to want to learn. Some
parents spoke of the need for both pre-service and in-service teacher training.

Two parents reported issues associated with the knowledge and understanding of those
from Group Special Education (GSE) (now referred to as Ministry of Education:
Special Education). One parent believed that the idea of professionals working with
parents in a collaborative model was not well understood by some professionals who, in
their experience, find it difficult to accept the expertise of parents. This may also be one
of the reasons why (as reported earlier) some teachers would not accept the advice and
information that parents had to provide to them.
I think teachers, GSE and the Ministry, are blocked by a perception that you
actually cant mix professional and non-professional, and that the partnership
team business is all tokenism. They see it as being nice to the parent or letting
them come to a meeting or telling them what youre going to do but they have
real difficulty in actually accepting the expertise of parents. (Parent 11)

Teacher training was an issue for two parents who believed that there should be a
greater focus on training teachers to meet the needs of disabled students, both at pre-
service level and in-service. It was also pointed out that teachers should constantly be
seeking out new understandings and ideas that would improve their teaching.

There appeared to be a link between lack of teacher knowledge and understanding and
the inappropriate use of teacher aides.
If there is a problem, they look at the problem and again, the only solution they
see is to put a teacher aide onto it.going out to any house sports or school
activities on the field, they know [name of child] will need support so they put a
teacher aide on. And of course that separates her from everything. (Parent 11)

107
A specific area of teacher knowledge that was highlighted in this study was teacher
expectations. Four parents reported low expectations as a barrier to their childs
successful inclusion at school. For one parent, it involved a teacher who did not believe
that the child could learn. Low expectations were also associated with behaviour:
She went through a stage of stealing pencils and things, taking the pencils from
people that she, you know, liked their pencils. She was allowed to do it, because
one particular teacher didnt pull her up on it. When I found out she was doing
it, one of the other kids had told me, I told the teacher in no uncertain terms, I
said why do you accept that kind of behaviour from her? You wouldnt accept
it from anyone else. (Parent 3)

The importance of knowledgeable and understanding teachers was highlighted by one


parent when she pointed out that when teachers are not coping, children are often
excluded:
Parents have been called to pick up their child from school when the child is not
coping, it is not the child not coping, it is the teacher not coping. (Parent 1)

Curriculum access and participation


Issues associated with curriculum, and in particular access to the curriculum, was
another theme to emerge from the analysis of the parent interviews. As with teacher
knowledge and/or understanding, this was identified as a barrier by 11 of the 12
interviewed parents. Table 5.14 presents these findings.

Table 5.14
Parent interview: Issues associated with curriculum
Parents
Descriptors P1 P2 P3 P4 P5 P6 P7 P8 P9 P10 P11 P12
Excluded from aspects of
curriculum
Teacher would not make
adaptations to the curriculum
No regular assessment or
reporting on childs progress
Lack of TA time used as
justification to deny child access
to learning experiences

There was a range of issues associated with the curriculum (used in its broadest sense)
identified by parents as exclusionary pressures. This included students being denied
access to certain curriculum areas, a lack of curriculum adaptation that would have
facilitated student learning, and a lack of assessment of learning.

108
But [name of teacher] would do things like shed have a worksheet photocopied
and everyone would get one except [name of child]. (Parent 4)

The teacher said that if he doesnt have a teacher aide there, he cant go
swimming and I said this was not right so I got some money from a Trust to
fund that one. (Parent 6)

I said to them, if he is on a computer he needs to be looking at it level, not from


above or below. They didnt want to know, I couldnt tell them anything. They
gave me the impression they werent going to do anything for him at all to do
with his eyesight. (Parent 5)

Teacher and principal behaviour towards parents


Ten of the 12 parents interviewed identified inappropriate behaviour by teachers and/or
school principals towards them as a factor acting to exclude their child. Table 5.15
presents these findings.

Table 5.15
Parent interview: Issues associated with behaviour towards parents
Parents
Descriptors P1 P2 P3 P4 P5 P6 P7 P8 P9 P10 P11 P12
Parents criticized by principal
and teachers
Parents not included in normal
parent events
Parents threatened by principal
with section 9
School blamed parents for
childs difficulties
Parents not listened to by school
personnel
Highlighting only deficits of
child to parents
Parents had difficulties
obtaining information from
school
Parents not contacted when
child sick/hurt
GSE wont listen to parents and
children

Some parents in this phase of the study reported that they were threatened and criticised
by teachers and school principals. One parent was threatened by the school principal
that her child would be given a section 9 if she continued to insist that her child be
allowed at school for the full day. One school principal told another parent that if they
continued to insist their child come to school for a full day, he would exclude the child

109
for disobedience. Three parents reported being criticised by the school principal and
labelled as a bad parent, an anxious parent and a depressing parent. After repeated
bullying incidents involving her child, one parent reported the following:
So finally, the day after the big incident, I wrote to the principal, a formal letter
outlining these four major incidences and the dates that they had occurred and
pointing out and summarising what he had said had happened for each thing
and what didnt happen. And I said my son has a right to be safe at this school,
what are you going to do about it? He wrote back to me to the effect of I worry
too much. I should let him stand on his own two feet and by the way he is not
doing his homework and please stop bothering the teacher so much. (Parent
5)

Another parent described her treatment by a school principal:


And finally I got a letter from the principal saying that at the last IEP I had been
depressing and that I had been insulting and dealing with me was a depressing
and demoralizing experience. And I was just like shaking, I couldnt believe it.
(Parent 10)

Four parents spoke of their experiences being excluded from normal parent interactions
with the school:
So you dont feel welcome to go to the school? [interviewer]
No I dont, I dont go often. The special needs teacher, she had nothing to do
with me until I got the funding and then she was all over me and organized
everythingbut she has been unavailable to talk to for the last three years, as
soon as Ive got funding she pops up Im excluded from anything that happens
at school. That suits me fine, Ive had no contact, Ive got a few select parents
that I have contact with, theyve all got kids with special needs and we all stick
together. (Parent 1)

Seven parents reported that they were not listened to and that their knowledge and
opinions were not respected. This acted as a barrier to their childs presence,
participation and learning at school.
Weve had a lot of sleepless nights, waking up in the early hours of the morning
definitely. It was like we were banging our head on a brick wall for nothing, I
mean, I would actually take them photocopies out of books from the Autism
Society which perfectly explained it, you know how these children act and why.
But no, they were already the experts they already knew him better than me and
they already knew everything about everything. What could I tell them, they are
the experts on children not me. (Parent 5)

Parents reported difficulties obtaining information from the school. This ranged from
teachers simply not adhering to previous agreements regarding communication
procedures between school and home, to parents perceiving that teachers were

110
consciously making it difficult for them to obtain any information. One parent reported
that a teacher of her child felt like they were being monitored when the parent asked for
information.

Four parents reported that the major focus of any communication from the school was
of a negative nature.
One of the teachers is doing a paper on autism at the moment which I find
highly amusing as shes probably one of the worst with the attitude that she has.
She says things like oh hes been naughty today, oh, hes had a really
crappy day today and at the gate after school she says things like look, here
he comes, look at him, hes had a crappy day, hes upset everybody today.
(Parent 1)

This was often in opposition to parents understanding of their children and the focus
that they had:
We were so proud of what she could do, we were so proud that she was five and
had a bag and was going to school but we knew they really didnt want to know.
I guess that was just the start of it, that hurt. We were so proud of what she had
achieved and it was given absolutely no recognition whatsoever. I tend to think
that generally they looked at her as a kid with Down Syndrome. They didnt ever
look at her as [name of child]. She has some neat little quirks, yes, she has got
high needs but shes a neat kid and they never saw that or never wanted to see
that. (Parent 4)

Enrolment, attendance and segregation


Issues associated with enrolment and attendance were identified by parents as
exclusionary barriers. Ten of the 12 parents identified some aspects of this theme. Table
5.16 presents these findings.

111
Table 5.16
Parent interview: Issues associated with enrolment and attendance
Parents
Descriptors P1 P2 P3 P4 P5 P6 P7 P8 P9 P10 P11 P12
Parents phoned during day to
take child home
The use of TA segregating from
participation and/or learning
with peers
Because of pressure, forced to
remove child from school. Began
to see special schools as better
alternatives
Principal tried to talk parents out
of sending child to school
Child was denied enrolment

Child only allowed at school


part-time

While only one of the twelve parents in this phase of the study reported their child being
denied outright, enrolment at their local school, four parents spoke of being told by
school principals that their child could only come to school for part of the day. For
example:
We were told that we had to take him out of school six hours a week, two
afternoons. So I went down to the Ministry and I was furious actually and I said
just why cant my son go to school? and thats when a person from the
Ministry became involved. I said I want to know the law and finally she said
to me Section 8 of the Act, it is very clear, the children have the same right as
any other. I said how does four days a week equal five? (Parent 12)

One parent reported a school principal taking steps to discourage parents of disabled
children from enrolling them at their school:
But we have had major concerns about [name of school]. A very, very
aggressive attitude from the principal who has actually been going around a lot
of kindergartens and saying tell those parents with special needs children not
to send them here, we dont get the funding. (Parent 9)

Other parents described being phoned by the school to come and pick up their child, for
reasons that they believed were not justified nor expected of parents of non-disabled
children.
Oh just every little thing, they would phone me to come and pick him up. One
time he had a rash due to some sun screen put on him and it wasnt effecting his
learning or anything but just tiny things like that. I mean I was quite amazed
when he started at his present school, it is like a whole year and I dont think

112
they have even phoned me once. But his previous school, they would ring me
virtually every week to come and pick him up and then if they couldnt get hold
of me, if I was out they would go into my daughters class and start saying
where is your mother? and all this and it was really not good to interrupt her
education. Then one time I forgot that the school was closing an hour early
when I got to the school I found him sitting on the curb outside and he had been
lying there for an hour outside and they had done nothing. They didnt try to
ring me then. (Parent 9)

Other parents reported their child being removed from their regular class and taught in
excluded settings such as resource rooms.
Segregated from the regular class. All the tricks. I mean I have to actually stay
on my toes about the number of attempts that are made to pull her out of the
classroom, often for work that is of no value to her at all. (Parent 11)

Abuse and/or bullying


Nine of the 12 parents identified issues associated with abuse and/or bullying as acting
to exclude their children. Table 5.17 presents these findings.

Table 5.17
Parent interview: Issues associated with abuse and/or bullying
Parents
Descriptors P1 P2 P3 P4 P5 P6 P7 P8 P9 P10 P11 P12
Bullying of child by teacher/s

Bullying of child by peers

Teacher physically
inappropriate to child
Teacher would not let other
children help child
Teacher openly criticized
child
Teachers put pressure on
siblings

As shown in Table 5.17, nine parents in this phase of the study reported issues
associated with bullying. This means that for these children, they did not experience a
safe physical and emotional environment. Four parents spoke of incidences of student
bullying. For two of these parents, the bullying incidents they described were witnessed
by teachers, or known about by teachers, yet nothing was done. In some cases, parents
were told that their child deserved it.

113
I had my Mum teacher aiding for him last year. We had a bit of the funding left
over she would come in because of his safety and the fact that he was so
badly bullied, he was beaten by three kids with the teacher standing and
watching.
So nothing was done about that? [interviewer]
Nothing, it was a relieving teacher, and her comment was that he deserved it.
He had been annoying all day. (Parent 1)

Other incidents of children being injured at school were also reported. While parents
knew that rough and tumble was a natural part of childhood, and that children would
get hurt, some parents were upset when injuries to their children were not taken
seriously.
And he had the ball and this other kid wanted the ball and went up and pushed
him over and he fell backwards and he has quite poor coordination and loses his
balance easily and he just hit the deck and that crashed his head. The teachers
werent concerned at all that he was quite out of it. (Parent 1)

Four parents identified teacher bullying as a barrier to their childs inclusion at school.
But then also people were reporting to us that she [child] was being intimidated
and abused and embarrassed by this same teacherthe staff would not accept
our word that this was a serious concern. [Name of child] was off school for all
of the first term while we tried to work it out. (Parent 1)

And the worst time, the time I decided to take him out of school was when we
walked into class together and we were a bit late. The others were sitting down
and he started chewing his finger nails, which he didnt normally do. She [class
teacher] instantly said ooh [name of child] take your fingers and all of this,
and then the others started to say the same thing, ooh [Name of child] then
when he sat down they all pulled away from him. That was it, I just had to get
him out then, it was just too horrible to leave him there. (P 9)

As well as specifically describing incidents that had happened to their children as


teacher bullying, some parents reported other incidents where teachers behaved in
inappropriate and, in their view, cruel ways, both to the parents themselves, and to the
children. In one instance, a teacher demonstrated a lack of understanding of the need for
children to help each other and the positive learning that can occur when children do
this.
Well one time, I was there and he was taking off his bag and a sweet little girl
came to help him. And it was like shouting right across the room leave him
alone!. You knew it was going to be her way, her way was he has to do
everything himself. He has to be completely independent. Well, I dont think
there is anything wrong with helping, it is quite nice for people to help others
really. But she was determined that he was not going to be helped. Then we had

114
an IEP meeting and she said he was engaging in anti-social behaviour! (Parent
9)

In other instances, parents reported that the siblings were victimised or felt upset at the
way their brother or sister was being treated.
My daughter used to go into [name of childs] class and the teacher would make
sarcastic comments, if my daughter hung around for like a minute just to say
hello to her brother or something, or even a few seconds, the teacher would
make sarcastic remarks like oh youre joining the juniors now are you? My
daughter in particular was upset. She felt that her brother was being treated
unfairly. He wasnt being treated nicely. (Parent 9)

A couple of girls being quite open, like looking up a book on Autism that was in
the library, and laughing at the pictures and my daughter took that quite
harshly. Also, lack of funding led to so many issues that it was unbelievable, and
it led to so much stress on our family life and his sister included. She knew what
he needed at school and could see that he wasnt getting it. (Parent 6)

Caring and valuing of child


While it could be argued that many of the issues identified by the parents in this phase
of the study reflect a lack of caring and valuing of their children, six of the 12
interviewed parents specified issues associated with a lack of caring and valuing of their
child. Table 5.18 presents these findings.

Table 5.18
Parent interview: Issues associated with lack of caring and valuing of child
Parents
Descriptors P1 P2 P3 P4 P5 P6 P7 P8 P9 P10 P11 P12
Child was not seen as a
valued part of the school
Teacher ignored child

Teacher did not care about


child
Principal gave teachers
choice whether to have child
in class or not
Child was not wanted in class
by teacher
Class teacher did not see
child as their responsibility

As Table 5.18 shows, a number of parents in this study spoke of their perceptions that
their child was less valuable, or held less status at the school than other children. They

115
developed this perception about their childs status and value in many ways. One parent
described how successful her daughter had been in the Special Olympics, but was not
mentioned once in the yearly school magazine. Three parents described how their
childs teacher had been given a choice about having their child in the class, a choice
that they knew these teachers did not get in relation to non-disabled students. Five
parents talked of their child not being wanted or welcomed by the school.
I was really disappointed because as I said we were really active parents in that
school environment and I felt like we had just, we just werent wanted, my
daughter wasnt wanted and that really hurtI didnt expect anything back, just
to be included, we were included, but my daughter wasnt. There was no reason
why she shouldnt have been as accepted as my other two children. (Parent 4)

[Name of teacher] basically told me its been alright while your son has been in
the junior school, but from here on it is just going to be too hard this was so
heavy, I mean I spent the whole night crying I was so hurt that they didnt want
him, that is what it felt like to me.
So it was very upsetting? [interviewer]
Yeah, I was very upset, I felt that they didnt care about him as a person and the
fact that he had made all those friendships and he knew everybody there you
know. (Parent 9)

Four parents reported that they did not believe that their child was seen as the classroom
teachers responsibility. This was demonstrated in a number of ways. For example, one
class teacher did not gather assessment data, or report on the progress of a disabled
child. Another teacher believed that students with disabilities were the responsibility of
special needs teachers in special schools. Another teacher left the responsibility for a
disabled student to the teacher aide, and in one case, a teacher simply ignored a disabled
child. Many of the parents who reported these incidents believed that the class teacher
thought that their major responsibility was with non-disabled students.
There was absolutely no assessmentso when it came to the end of the year I
made it known that I was expecting a school report, like every other child and it
was, oh I knew jolly well because the teacher aide had told me that she
[teacher] had not done any of the assessments that they do. I dont know the
name of them, you do to find out where the kids are. Basically [name of child]
was the teacher aides responsibility and that was it. (Parent 4)

Funding
The final theme to emerge from the parent interviews was funding. Seven parents
identified three issues associated with this theme. Table 5.19 reports these findings.

116
Table 5.19
Parent interview: Issues associated with funding
Teachers
Descriptors P1 P2 P3 P4 P5 P6 P7 P8 P9 P10 P11 P12
Parents paying for teacher aide
support
Lack of funding

Funding being inappropriately


used

For just over half the parents in this phase of the study, issues around funding were
identified as a barrier to their childs inclusion at school. This included funding being
inappropriately used, a lack of funding, and parents feeling obligated to provide
funding, or being asked to provide funding to support their child at school. The practice
of parents providing funding (over and above normal school fees paid by non-disabled
students) was reported by five parents. One parent provided the following account of
her experience:
I have been asked in the past, specially the end of last year and for most of this
year to provide our carer support hours.
The school has asked you to provide funding for your childs support at school?
[interviewer]
Yes, my carer support money.
And that is the money you are given or entitled to, to provide respite care for
you? [interviewer]
Yes, my answer was they were told to shove it in a big way.
Because we refused, they have pushed and pushed all year until I have just had
enough and I applied for a grant, and I have got enough for 14 hours a week
Can you tell me, this pushing that the school did, can you talk to me about that,
what sort of pressure did they put on you? [interviewer]
The pressure, what they would do is they would ring up nearly every day and
say hes not coping come and get him, this is sort of how it started. Then we got,
oh we are doing this today, so it may be best if he didnt come because we
havent got enough staff to look after him or (Parent 1)

While closely associated with the theme of enrolment and participation, using a
perceived lack of teacher aide allocation as an excuse to deny children full time
enrolment and presence at school was reported by three parents.

117
5.3.1 Phase One Parent Interview Summary
Analysis of parent interview data revealed seven major themes associated with the
exclusion of disabled students at school. These were issues related to: the knowledge
and/or understanding of professionals; behaviour of teachers and principals towards
parents; curriculum access and participation; enrolment attendance and segregation;
abuse and or bullying by teachers and peers; the lack of caring and valuing of disabled
children; and funding issues. Throughout all these themes, issues associated with
teacher aides were raised.

These were important themes that were carried forward into the next phase of the study.

5.4 Phase Two: School Principal Questionnaire Results


Phase two of the research involved a postal questionnaire and follow-up interview with
school principals. Questionnaires were sent to 143 school principals in three
geographical regions in New Zealand. Forty-seven questionnaires were returned
completed21. Data from the questionnaires were entered into a statistical software
package, SPSS22.

Data from the school principal questionnaires were analysed in light of the following
themes identified from phase one. These were issues associated with:
1. Knowledge and understanding of professionals
2. Curriculum access and participation
3. Behaviour towards parents
4. Enrolment, attendance and segregation
5. Abuse and/or bullying
6. Caring and valuing of child
7. Funding
8. Teacher aides

21
For a summary of the background information of the sample, see section 4.3.1.
22
For an explanation of the data analysis methods employed in this phase of the research see section 4.6.

118
Knowledge and understanding of professionals
Data from phase one of the study indicated that a lack of knowledge and understanding
on the part of professionals is a factor that can exclude disabled students. Therefore, a
number of questions in the principal questionnaire specifically focused on respondents
knowledge and understanding. Principal respondents were asked to indicate their
familiarity with relevant legislation, funding and support frameworks, and principles
and practices associated with inclusive education. They were also asked to give their
opinion regarding the importance of successful inclusive education, of teacher
knowledge and skills, teacher professional learning, and increasing the capacity and
capability of teachers in the school. Table 5.20 presents these findings.

Table 5.20
Principal questionnaire: Knowledge and/or understanding
Never A little Familiar Very
heard of it familiar % familiar
% % %
The concept of inclusion 0.0 10.6 46.8 42.6

Supports avail to help teachers of disabled 0.0 27.7 34.0 38.3


students
Current principles & practices related to meeting 0.0 14.9 63.8 21.3
needs of students who experience difficulties
with learning
Curriculum adaptation 2.2 19.6 50.0 28.3

Current principles & practices related to meeting 0.0 21.3 57.4 21.3
needs of students who experience difficulties
with behaviour
Legislation that guarantees the rights of disabled 2.1 36.2 46.8 14.9
students to attend their local school
Funding Framework (SE 2000) 2.2 42.2 33.3 22.2

Supports available to help parents of disabled 4.3 36.2 48.9 10.6


children
NZ Disability Strategy 31.9 51.1 12.8 4.3

Not Important Very Vital


Important % Important %
% %
For successful inclusive education, the 0.0 2.2 32.6 65.2
knowledge and skills of teachers is:
Strongly Disagree Unsure Agree
disagree % % %
%
Professional development for teachers is 0.0 0.0 0.0 48.9
important
To facilitate inclusion we focus on increasing 2.1 19.1 25.5 40.4
capacity & capability of teachers

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Responses to these questions showed a reasonably strong familiarity with the concept of
inclusion (89% were familiar or very familiar with it). Similarly, respondents believed
they were familiar or very familiar with principles and practices known to meet the
needs of students who experience difficulties with learning (85%) and behaviour (79%).
In relation to the practice of curriculum adaptation, 78% of respondents reported being
familiar (50%) or very familiar (28%) with it.

Policy, legislation and funding frameworks were less well known to respondents. Thirty
six percent (36%) were only slightly familiar with the legislation that guaranteed
disabled children the right to attend their local neighbourhood school (The 1989
Education Act). Similarly, the funding framework was only slightly familiar to 42% of
respondents. In particular, the New Zealand Disability Strategy was not well known,
with only 17% of respondents indicating they were familiar with this strategy.

All respondents either agreed (49%) or strongly agreed (51%) that the professional
development of teachers was important for successful inclusive education. However,
only 13% strongly agreed with the statement that as a school they focus on increasing
the capacity and capability of teachers in order to create inclusive learning
environments. Later in the questionnaire, when asked to rank factors considered
important for inclusive education, teacher knowledge and skills was not ranked as the
most important factor by any of the respondents (see Table 5.28).

Curriculum access and participation


In the phase one interviews, 10 out of 12 parents identified the curriculum as a barrier to
their childs presence and participation at school. Predominantly the issue was not being
able to access the curriculum. Principals were asked about the value they placed on
curriculum adaptations for facilitating inclusive education and whether teachers in their
schools make curriculum adaptations if required to allow students to access the
curriculum. Table 5.22 presents these data.

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Table 5.21
Principal questionnaire: Curriculum
Never Seldom Sometimes Often
% % % %
Teachers make curriculum adaptations 0.0 0.0 21.3 78.7

Teachers use a varied range of teaching 0.0 2.1 23.4 74.5


strategies
Not Important Very Vital
Important % Important %
% %
For successful inclusive education, making 0.0 6.5 37.0 56.5
curriculum adaptations is:

All respondents reported that teachers in their school adapted the curriculum. Similarly,
all believed (to a greater or lesser extent) that curriculum adaptations were important for
successful inclusive education.

Behaviour towards parents


Parents in phase one of the study reported a number of behaviours towards them that
they considered inappropriate. These were associated with being denied rights and
levels of respect. Therefore, four questions in the school principal questionnaire sought
to uncover respondents attitudes and behaviours towards the parents of disabled
children. Table 5.22 presents these findings.

Table 5.22
Principal questionnaire: Behaviour towards parents
Strongly Disagree Unsure Agree Strongly
disagree % % % agree
% %
Parents of disabled and non-disabled 0 0 2.2 43.5 54.3
students are given the same rights and
respect in this school
Never Seldom Sometimes Often
% % % %
I enjoy having all parents come into our 0.0 0.0 4.3 95.7
school
I would have contact with all parents of 6.7 4.4 17.8 71.1
children in our school at least once a year
I have advised some parents that their 53.2 34.0 12.8 0.0
children would be better educated at schools
other than this one

Principals were asked if parents of disabled students in their school were shown the
same rights and respect as that shown to parents of non-disabled students. Only one

121
respondent was unsure, while 44% agreed that they were and 54% strongly agreed.
However, when asked if they had ever advised some parents that their children would
be better educated at schools other than their school, nearly 13% reported they had
sometimes done this, and 34% reported that they had seldom done this. The majority of
principals (71%) reported having contact with all parents of the school often. Similarly,
most principals enjoyed having parents come into the school.

Enrolment, attendance and segregation


At the most basic level of inclusive education is presence. To participate and learn at
school, students have to be present. Parents reported a number of different ways that
their children had been excluded from being present at school. For example instances
where their child had been denied enrolment, only permitted to attend school part time,
only permitted to attend school if a teacher aide was present, or parents being phoned to
come and pick up their child from school during school time. School principals were
asked their opinions and practices about student presence and participation.

Table 5.23
Principal questionnaire: Enrolment, participation and segregation
Strongly Disagree Unsure Agree Strongly
disagree % % % agree
% %
Students who experience difficulties with 0.0 0.0 6.4 44.7 48.9
learning are welcomed at this school
All students are welcome to attend this school 0.0 6.4 4.3 34.0 55.3
(except for enrolment policies)
Our school has made an effort to identify and 0.0 4.4 4.4 62.2 28.9
address barriers to learning/participation of
disabled students
Students who experience difficulties with 0.0 6.5 17.4 54.3 21.7
behaviour are welcomed at this school
Regular schools can meet the needs of all 8.5 29.8 23.4 27.7 10.6
students
Regular schools should meet the needs of all 8.5 21.3 31.9 25.5 12.8
students
There are some students who need special 25.5 38.3 10.6 10.6 14.9
treatment and this cannot be provided in this
school
Teachers have an obligation to non-disabled 27.7 59.6 6.4 4.3 2.1
students first and foremost
I feel justified in denying enrolment to 33.3 26.7 20.0 15.6 4.4
disabled students without a teacher aide

When principals were asked to respond to the statement all students are welcome at
this school, just over 10% of respondents were either unsure or disagreed. Similarly,

122
when asked if they would feel justified denying enrolment to a disabled student if they
did not have teacher aide time, 20% of respondents indicated that they would feel
justified in doing this. When considering differences between students who experience
difficulties with learning and students who experience difficulties with behaviour, 93%
of respondents reported they welcome students who experience difficulties with
learning, and 76% reported they welcome students who experience difficulties with
behaviour.

Nearly 13% of respondents were either uncertain or thought that classroom teachers had
an obligation to non-disabled students first and foremost. There was a strong feeling of
doubt regarding whether regular schools could meet the needs of all students with 37%
thinking that this was not possible. In regards to whether regular schools should meet
the needs of all students, only 38% of respondents believed they should. Just over 25%
of respondents agreed that there are some students who require special treatment that
cannot be provided in their schools.

Abuse and/or bullying


Bullying and abuse was another barrier identified by parents in this study. Principals
were asked to report the bullying that occurred in their schools. Table 5.24 presents
these findings.

Table 5.24
Principal questionnaire: Abuse and bullying
Never Seldom Sometimes Often
% % % %

Student to student bullying occurs in this 0.0 46.8 51.1 2.1


school
Teacher to student bullying occurs in this 48.9 36.2 14.9 0.0
school
Teacher to teacher bullying occurs in this 50.0 32.6 17.4 0.0
school

Of particular interest in this research was the issue of teacher to student bullying as little
has been written or reported of its nature. Approximately 51% of respondents reported
that teacher to student bullying did occur in their school. Similarly, 50% reported

123
teacher to teacher bullying and all respondents reported student to student bullying at
some level in their school.

Caring and valuing of child


Many parents in phase one of this study reported that a lack of caring and valuing of
their child was a major barrier to their childs presence and participation at school. This
was expressed in many different ways, from children being abused or bullied, to
teachers being given a choice of whether or not to have a disabled child in their class.
Responses from school principals to questions eliciting opinions about the value they
placed on disabled students provided mixed results. Table 5.25 presents these findings.

Table 5.25
Principal questionnaire: Caring and valuing of child
Strongly Disagree Unsure Agree Strongly
disagree % % % agree
% %
All students can learn 0.0 0.0 2.1 27.7 70.2

It is the classroom teacher job to report to the 0.0 0 21.1 31.9 66.0
parents of all students in their class
The role of the classroom teacher is to meet 2.1 6.4 4.3 44.7 42.6
the needs of all students
Our school has made an effort to identify and 0.0 4.4 4.4 62.2 28.9
address barriers to learning and participation
of disabled students
Students who experience difficulties at school 19.6 60.9 10.9 8.7 0.0
often do so because of their own
shortcomings
There are clearly defined groups of students 31.9 53.2 2.1 8.5 4.3
those with, and those without special needs
Teachers have an obligation to non-disabled 27.7 59.6 6.4 4.3 2.1
students first and foremost23
Some students hold more status in this school 53.3 26.7 4.4 13.3 2.2
than others
Not Important Very Vital
Important % Important %
% %
For successful inclusive education, a school 0.0 2.2 15.2 82.6
climate that is accepting of difference is

Overall, principals did not report values and opinions that would indicate a lack of
caring and valuing of disabled students. Only one principal had doubts that all children
could learn with 98% of respondents indicating that they believed all children can learn.
Similarly, few believed that there were clearly defined groups of students, those with
23
Also reported in table 5.23.

124
and those without special needs, (13%). Nor did they report that some students held
more status in their school than others (16%). Most respondents believed that the role of
the classroom teacher was to meet the needs of all students (87%).

Another of the barriers to inclusive education identified by parents in phase one of this
study was a belief by teachers that children who experience difficulties with learning
and behaviour do so predominantly because of their own shortcomings or deficits.
However, the majority of principals did not hold this view, with 20% strongly
disagreeing and 61% disagreeing with this statement. A focus on setting up a climate
conducive to learning for disabled students is an important enabler of inclusive
education. Just over 90% of respondents reported that they had made an effort to
identify and address barriers to learning and participation for disabled students in their
school. Being accepting of difference was seen as important by all respondents.

The one area that may indicate that disabled students were valued less than non-
disabled students is in relation to teacher responsibility. In response to the statement
teachers have an obligation to non-disabled students first and foremost, 13% were
either unsure, agreed or strongly agreed.

Funding
Parents identified some issues associated with funding as acting to exclude their
children from and within school. School principals were asked their opinion regarding
the importance of funding for inclusive education. Table 5.26 presents these findings.

Table 5.26
Principal questionnaire: Funding
Not Important Very Vital
Important % Important %
% %
For successful inclusive education, funding is: 0.0 2.2 21.7 76.1

The majority of respondents (76%) believed that funding was vital for successful
inclusion. No respondents believed that it was not important.

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Teacher aides
Parents reported issues associated with the use of teacher aides that acted to exclude
their children from and within school. This included their child being denied enrolment
if a teacher aide was not present, teacher aides excluding children from the having
social interaction with their peers, and class teachers abdicating responsibility for
disabled students to teacher aides. School principals were asked their opinions regarding
the relationship of teacher aide provision to inclusive education. Table 5.27 presents
these findings.

Table 5.27
Principal questionnaire: Teacher aide
Not Very
Important Vital
Important Important
% %
% %
For successful inclusive education, the 0.0 13.3 33.3 53.3
provision of teacher aides is:
Strongly Strongly
Disagree Unsure Agree
disagree Agree
% % %
% %
I feel justified in denying enrolment to 33.3 26.7 20.0 15.6 4.4
disabled students without a teacher aide

In relation to the importance of teacher aide provision for successful inclusive


education, principals indicated that they were important (13%), very important (33%) or
vital (53%). Twenty percent of respondents felt justified in denying enrolment to
disabled students without a teacher aide. Related to this phenomenon, the practice of
teachers delegating responsibility for disabled students to a teacher aide was reported in
phase one. Similarly, related to this, the belief that classroom teachers are not
responsible for all students as reported in Tables 5.23 and 5.25. Here nearly 13% of
principals did not agree that class teachers should be responsible for all students.

Principals were asked to indicate their opinions regarding how important seven factors
identified from the literature were to successful inclusive education. Table 5.28 shows
these findings.

126
Table 5.28
Principal questionnaire: What is important for inclusive education
Not Important Very Vital
Important % Important %
% %
The attitude of the class teacher 0.0 2.2 13.0 84.8

A school climate that is accepting of 0.0 2.2 15.2 82.6


difference
Funding 0.0 2.2 21.7 76.1

The attitude of the school principal 0.0 6.5 21.7 71.7

The knowledge and skills of the class 0.0 2.2 32.6 65.2
teacher
Making adaptations to the curriculum 0.0 6.5 37.0 56.5

Provision of teacher-aides 0.0 13.3 33.3 53.3

All factors were considered by principals to be important for inclusive education with
little difference between factors. Principals were then asked to rank the factors based on
what they considered the most important to least important. Table 5.29 shows these
findings.

Table 5.29
Principal questionnaire: What is the most important factor for inclusive education?
The most important factor for inclusive education %

A school climate that is accepting of difference 38.6

Funding 31.0

The attitude of the school principal 18.6

The attitude of the class teacher 18.2

Making adaptations to the curriculum 9.5

Provision of teacher-aides 2.4

The knowledge and skills of the class teacher 0.0

A school climate that is accepting of difference and funding were the two most
important factors identified by principals. The provision of teacher aides and the
knowledge and skills of the class teacher were considered the least important (in fact,
no respondents identified the knowledge and skills of the class teacher as the most

127
important factor). In relation to funding results from this question were not in keeping
with data from an earlier question where 76% of principals indicated that funding was
vital for successful inclusion.

5.4.1 Phase Two School Principal Questionnaire Summary


Results from the school principal questionnaire indicate that few of the principals in this
sample reported holding views or practising the factors identified by parents as acting to
exclude disabled students. Principals reported having a reasonably sound knowledge of
policies and legislation associated with or facilitating inclusion (the one exception to
this was the New Zealand Disability Strategy, 2001). In terms of knowledge about
practices however, there was a reasonably significant group of respondents who
indicated that they were only a little familiar with practices associated with meeting the
needs of students who experience difficulties with learning and behaviour
(approximately 20%). Similarly, nearly 15% indicated they were only a little familiar
with curriculum adaptation practices.

The lack of value given to disabled students is an important excluding factor. Some
principals reported that particular students hold more status at their school than others.
Teacher responsibility to disabled students is one indicator of the value schools place on
these students. Approximately 87% of respondents believed that teachers were
responsible equally to all students, however 13% of the sample did not hold this view.
Deficit model thinking (where people see problems or challenges residing with the
individuals) was not significantly apparent in the data, with approximately 91% of
respondents indicating that if students experience difficulties at school, it is not only
because of shortcomings on the part of the student themselves.

The childs presence at school is a critical factor for inclusive education. However,
some principals reported that not all students were welcomed at their school and one
third of respondents did not believe that regular schools should be the place for all
students. Nearly one fifth of principals felt justified in denying enrolment to disabled
students if they did not have a teacher aide.

128
Emotional and physical safety at school is a right enshrined in policy and legislation in
New Zealand, yet, just over half of the principals in this sample reported that teacher-to-
student bullying did occur in their schools. A similar degree of student-to-student
bullying was reported.

Data associated with principals behaviour towards parents of disabled students indicate
that while principals reported valuing and respecting parents, other actions and beliefs
refuted this. For example parents reported that principals suggested that their child
would be better educated at another school.

Funding and teachers aides were considered by principals to be important factors


associated with successful inclusive education, however principals identified a school
climate that is accepting of difference to be more important. The factor considered the
least important to inclusive education was the knowledge and skills of the class teacher.

5.5 Phase Two: School Principal Interview Results


Ten school principals participated in this phase of the study. Five principals indicated in
the questionnaire their agreement with the statement that regular schools should be the
place for all children (Participants 15, identified in the shaded area of the following
tables). Five principals in this sample indicated that they were either unsure, or
disagreed with the statement that regular schools should be the place for all children
(Participants 610, identified in the non-shaded area of the following tables). These two
groups formed the comparative samples. For the purposes of discussing results from
these two groups, those principals agreeing with the statement that regular schools
should be the place for all children will be referred to as the x group. Those principals
unsure, or disagreeing with the statement that regular schools should be the place for all
children, will be referred to as the y group.

In order to explore the issues identified in phase one, four main areas were explored
with school principals. These were participants: attitudes and values associated with
inclusive education; perceptions of barriers to school inclusion; perceptions of enablers
to inclusive education; and perceptions of specific contextual issues identified by
parents as acting to exclude their children from or within school. Interview transcripts

129
were analysed in relation to the themes parents had identified in phase one as barriers to
their childs presence and participation at school. These were:
1. Knowledge and understanding of professionals
2. Curriculum access and participation
3. Teacher and principal behaviour towards parents
4. Enrolment, attendance and segregation
5. Abuse and/or bullying
6. Caring and valuing of child
7. Funding
8. Teacher aides

Principals were asked to talk about their understanding of inclusive education and what
it meant to them. Table 5.30 outlines the main themes from their responses.

Table 5.30
Principal interview: What inclusive education means
Principals who agree that all Principals who disagree or are
students belong in regular schools unsure that all students belong in
(Group x) regular schools (Group y)
P1 P2 P3 P4 P5 P6 P7 P8 P9 P10
All children have a right to
attend school
Every student is included at
school where possible
All children should be with
their peers
Every child is welcomed

There are some instances


when inclusive education is
not possible

All principals believed that inclusive education was about all children being welcomed
and included at their school. However, two principals qualified this view. These two
principals believed inclusion may not be possible if the children are too disabled
(principal four from the x sample and principal six from the y sample). Principals two,
three, five, seven and ten all believed that inclusive education was about rights.
Inclusion to me means that everybody has a right to be part of the whole school
community. So they are a complete part of a school life the same as everybody

130
else. There is nothing in the way that stops them being with their peers and
involved in everything. (Principal 2)

However, while most principals spoke of inclusive education meaning that all children
were accepted and valued at school, some principals believed this could mean being
accepted and valued in a special unit at their school. Two principals (six and ten) saw
special education units at mainstream schools as inclusive education.
I think that the situation that we run now where we have a unit with a dedicated
teacher who specializesand we are able to do that but the inclusion is to have
it not in specialist schools to me is to have it in a normal school like ours and to
have those children so the are part of the school community.... (Principal 6)

Two principals specifically indicated that they believed inclusive education was always
possible (principals one and four). As one of these principals stated:
It is not possible for it to be not possible. Because we have a code of practice, a
code of inclusion that we worked on that togetherwhat it basically says is that
every child has a right to that education, the right to be educated along with
their mates. (Principal 1)

Principals two, three, six, seven, eight, nine and ten all thought that there were instances
where inclusive education was not possible. For principals two, three, nine and ten, this
was when they believed that children were too disabled. For principals six and seven
this was when the disabled student interfered with the learning of other children in the
class. Principal eight believed that inclusion would not always be possible if there were
not enough resources.
Sometimes their behaviour can be so bad I dont think that they should be
included. Also Im thinking of a kid, it sounds terrible but a bit like a vegetable,
do you know what I mean, I hate saying the word, but like with a mentality of
under a year. (Principal 10)

Yes I think that it gets extremely difficult if the needs for attention are so high
that it is disruptive to the normal operation of the classroom. (Principal 7)

These data highlight the varying explanations and understandings of inclusive


education. The range of views spanned from a belief that inclusion involved children
being welcomed into their local school in a regular class with their peers (two
principals), to the belief that inclusion could mean children in special units in the
grounds of regular schools (two principals). All principals thought that inclusive
education involved welcoming disabled students into regular schools, but their beliefs

131
regarding the involvement of disabled students varied. Only two principals believed that
there were no qualifiers to the involvement of all students in regular classes and
schools.

Principals were asked what they believed were the enablers and barriers to inclusive
education, Table 5.31 outlines these data. For ease of interpretation, data have been
organised around the themes of teacher, student and context.

Table 5.31
Principal interview: The barriers/enablers to inclusive education
Principals who agree that all Principals who disagree or are
students belong in regular schools unsure that all students belong in
(Group x) regular schools (Group y)
P1 P2 P3 P4 P5 P6 P7 P8 P9 P10
Factors associated with teachers
Fearful teachers/confident
teachers
Teacher knowledge and
professional development
Unwilling/willing teachers
Accepting/not accepting
students individual needs
Friction/good relationships
between teachers and parents
Teachers not taking/taking
responsibility for all students
Inappropriate/appropriate
teaching strategies
Overloaded teachers/
supported teachers
Factors associated with students
Disabled students who dont
get on well/get on well with
peers
Low intelligence/not low
intelligence
Inappropriate/appropriate
behaviour
Factors associated with context
Inadequate/adequate funding
and resources
Support staff
Inappropriate/appropriate
physical environment
Ignorance/acceptance of
community
Poor support/good support
from GSE

132
The most common barriers and enablers to inclusive education expressed by principals
in both the x and y groups were associated with teachers. Four principals (two from
each group) believed that teachers fearful of inclusion were the greatest barrier to the
inclusion of disabled students.
Yes for example when I first was told that we were getting two children with
very high needs, I didnt want them I was scared stiff and so I found out a whole
lot about them before I could accept them. (Principal 10)

Lack of teacher knowledge was also seen as a barrier to successful inclusive education.
Principal five believed it was critical to have knowledgeable support staff. Principal ten
believed that gaining knowledge about the needs of disabled students could overcome
barriers to their inclusion. Principal seven and principal one thought that if inclusive
education was to be a reality, there needed to be an emphasis on the professional
development of teachers. Principals from both groups identified this as a barrier or
enabler to inclusive education.

The right attitude on the part of teachers was an enabler identified by three principals
(one, four and nine). This was expressed as a willingness on the part of teachers to
include disabled students.
If there is a willingness to include people you can do it. I mean sometimes it is
difficult but get on and do it. (Principal 4)

Principal one was more specific regarding the nature of this willingness, which he
expressed as teachers being willing to take on responsibility for disabled students. This
principal was the only one to identify teacher responsibility as an important enabler or
barrier to inclusive education.

Other factors associated with teachers identified by principals as barriers and/or


enablers to inclusive education included teachers accepting that students have individual
needs, relationships between parents and school, teachers taking responsibility for all
students, and the support of teachers.

No principal mentioned the role of the school principal in including or excluding


disabled students.

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Three principals in the y group believed that it was factors associated with the disabled
student themselves that either acted as a barrier to their inclusion or enabled it. No
principals in the x group identified issues associated with the student. Principal eight
believed that if inappropriate behaviour interfered with the learning of non-disabled
students, then the community would not support inclusion. She also believed that if a
disabled child was not very likeable by their peers, this could also act as a barrier to
school inclusion. Principal six stated that often the childs intellectual ability acted as a
barrier to school inclusion; if it was too low, the teacher could not be expected to do
much. Barriers and enablers associated with the student themselves were areas where
there was a discernable difference between the views of the x group and the views of
the y group.

Principals in both groups identified a number of contextual issues as barriers/enablers to


inclusive education. Funding was identified as a barrier/enabler by six principals (one,
two five, seven, nine and ten). For one principal from the x group, this was the most
important issue:
Well you cant get away from money. Its sad isnt it but that is the be all and
end all of things. (Principal 2)

For another principal from the y group, funding was also a strong issue:
Well from the schools viewpoint I think it still comes back to first of all
resources and funding. (Principal 7)

Principal five believed that because of the sheer scale of resources (funding) needed to
equip a school to meet the needs of disabled students, not all schools should be expected
to cater for all children:
Funding is always an issue, the funding to provide paraprofessional support, the
resources, sometimes the ramps and whatever else. Also it takes time to have
resources to be put in place. That is why I believe it is better to have some
schools well resourced rather than an expectation that every school can cater
for every child. (Principal 5)

Other contextual issues included having good support staff (principals four and ten), an
accepting community (principals three and eight), using appropriate teaching strategies
(principal one), having access to adequate resources (principal one), and good support
from GSE (principal seven). In relation to contextual factors, the main discernable

134
differences between the beliefs of the x group and the beliefs of the y group were in
relation to the physical environment where no principals from the x group believed this
to be a barrier or enabler to inclusive education.

Principal interviews were also analysed to identify respondents views and practices
associated with the barriers that the parents had identified in phase one. Tables 5.32 to
5.38 present the findings of this analysis. The themes explored were:
1. Knowledge and understanding of professionals
2. Curriculum access and participation
3. Teacher and principal behaviour towards parents
4. Enrolment, attendance and segregation
5. Abuse and/or bullying
6. Caring and valuing of child
7. Funding
8. Teacher aides

The results are presented in tables and in subsequent commentaries and participant
quotes. Not all results are presented in the tables, only those representing factors that
were often identified by respondents. Other factors thought to be important are
discussed by way of a commentary and presentation of participant quotes.

Knowledge and understanding of professionals


Parents identified a lack of teacher knowledge and/or understanding as a barrier to their
childs presence and participation at school. Table 5.32 outlines the major findings from
the analysis of the principal interviews in relation to this theme. Subsequent
commentary and participant quotes present further findings from the analysis.

135
Table 5.32
Principal interview: Teacher knowledge and understanding
Principals who agree that all Principals who disagree or are
students belong in regular schools unsure that all students belong in
(Group x) regular schools (Group y)
P1 P2 P3 P4 P5 P6 P7 P8 P9 P10
Inclusion requires the right
attitude from teachers
(willingness)
Teacher knowledge and
professional development is
important
Teacher fear and ignorance
gets in the way of inclusion

Four of the five principals from the x group spoke of the importance of a willingness by
the class teacher to include all students. The same four principals also believed in the
importance of teacher knowledge and professional development for teachers. These two
themes were less well supported by principals in the y group, with only principal nine
mentioning a willingness on the part of teachers, and principals seven and ten
mentioning the importance of teacher professional development.

With regards to the right attitude, specifically a willingness to include all children, there
were a number of different themes. Principal one spoke of the need for teachers to be
willing to work with somebody that is different and not expecting other people to do
their work for them. This touches on an important issue identified by parents, that of
teachers not feeling responsible for disabled children. This theme is also discussed later
in this section.
Attitude. Teachers willing to work with somebody that is different and that has
been a barrier for some people prior to setting in place inclusive education.
There were people that did expect other people to do it for them. (Principal 1)

Principal nine believed that while the right attitude was important, you could not
blame people if they did not have this.
So another barrier, definitely peoples attitudes and I dont think it is something
that they can particularly help. I dont think they set out to be malicious or
unkind or unloving. (Principal 9)

Five principals (two from the x group and three from the y group) identified teacher fear
as something that was a barrier to inclusive education. For one principal this stemmed

136
from an experience visiting a mental institution when she was a child. For another, it
was based on not having experience with disabled people. For the remainder of
respondents, this was an unspecified fear.

Curriculum access and participation


In relation to the curriculum, few principals mentioned the curriculum at any stage of
the interview. However, principals one and two both emphasized the importance of
making the curriculum accessible if students were truly going to be included. In
particular, principal two spoke at great length of the curriculum initiatives in her school.
Making adaptations to the curriculum was an important aspect for principal one.
Principal six outlined how they used the early childhood (Te Whriki) curriculum for
the students in the special needs unit. Principal ten believed the curriculum was so
normed that it got in the way of inclusive education.

Teacher and principal behaviour towards parents


Parents identified what they perceived to be inappropriate behaviour towards them by
teachers and school principals as a barrier to their childs presence and participation at
school. Data from the principal interviews were analysed to uncover principals
attitudes and practices in relation to this theme. Table 5.33 and subsequent commentary
present these findings.

Table 5.33
Principal interview: Behaviour towards parents
Principals who agree that all Principals who disagree or are
students belong in regular schools unsure that all students belong in
(Group x) regular schools (Group y)
P1 P2 P3 P4 P5 P6 P7 P8 P9 P10
Working with parents is
essential for inclusive
education
Reporting to parents of
disabled students involves
more than for non-disabled
students

In relation to inappropriate behaviour towards parents, principals were unlikely to


describe outright the behaviour that was described by parents in the first phase of this
research. All principals reported good communication and relationships with the parents

137
in their school, and none identified this theme as an issue for them or for developing an
inclusive educational environment. Four principals from the x group and two from the y
group described working with parents as essential, and principal seven emphasised that
principals and teachers must listen to parents.

In addition, principal one pointed out that teachers and school principals need to be
aware of the difficulties that parents of disabled students often have to face and the
struggles they may have to go through in order to get what their child is entitled to.
We have some [parents] who have quite rightly been the only advocate their
child has ever had and for a long time since they were born they have fought
and fought and fought and so that is the main barrier, and so when they come
into a school and they are getting that it doesnt take them long to know when
there is another fight on their hands and they quickly get their defences up.
(Principal 1)

All principals identified that reporting practices for disabled students was over and
above what occurred for non-disabled students, mainly due to the Individual Education
Process (IEP). As mentioned earlier, three principals described deficit model thinking in
relation to disabled students. Whether this was communicated to parents or not could
not be determined. There were no discernable differences between the opinions and
practices of the two groups.

Principal two believed that parents being labelled (for example as troublesome, or
disabled themselves) is a barrier to inclusive education. Principal two also pointed out
that often parents of disabled students are denied the usual parent friendships that
parents of non-disabled students have with each other. Principal ten thought that at
times, parents themselves can be barriers to successful inclusive education:
Sometimes the parents can be a barrier, the friction between the parents and the
school. (Principal 10)

While there were similar viewpoints expressed regarding the importance of good parent
teacher partnerships by principals in both the x and y groups, there was more empathy
expressed by principals in the x group for the needs of difficulties often faced by
parents of disabled children.

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Enrolment, attendance and segregation
In phase one of this study, parents identified issues around enrolment and attendance as
barriers to their childs presence and participation at school. Data from the principal
interviews were analysed to uncover principals attitudes and practices in relation to this
theme. Table 5.34 and subsequent commentary present these findings.

Table 5.34
Principal interview: Enrolment attendance and segregation
Principals who agree that all Principals who disagree or are
students belong in regular schools unsure that all students belong in
(Group x) regular schools (Group y)
P1 P2 P3 P4 P5 P6 P7 P8 P9 P10
Disabled students are not
permitted access to some
mainstream activities
Disabled students are sent
home during school time
Disabled students are only
allowed part-time
participation at school
Would deny enrolment if
too disabled
Not excluded from
enrolment or participation
Having disabled students
improves the school
Disabled students have
rights to attend their local
neighbourhood school

No principals from the x group described restricting disabled students access to


mainstream activities. In comparison, three principals from the y group spoke of this
practice. For example, principal nine explained:
They come to assembly every morning, they are in the playground everyday. Our
own children go down and wheel them up. (Principal 9)

Similarly, no principals from the x group described denying disabled students full time
participation at school. However, part time participation was described by three
principals in the y group, either as something that was set up from the initial enrolment
at school or in the case of students who were described as not coping with school.
So hes a likeable wee kid thank goodnessbut the difficulty of settling means
he only comes to school for three days a week for half days because he is so
difficult to absorb into a classroom so he needs the money to put into support.
(Principal 8)

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Two principals (one from each group) said that they would turn a child away from their
school if it was considered that they were too disabled. Principal two said that this
would only be for children with very high health and medical needs if it was thought
that they could not guarantee the students safety.

Only one principal (P9) from the y group said that they would never turn a child away
from enrolment or participation (although this was a school with a special needs unit),
however, four principals from the x group explained that they would never turn a child
away from their school or deny their participation. One principal (P4) spoke of the
benefits that having disabled children at the school brings.
We had a deaf student last year who left. She is a big loss to our school
community because we were all learning from hershe brought in some people
like she had a guy [name] who would come to the school and he was just
fantastic so that is another benefit actually. (Principal 4)

Four principals from the x group and one from the y group spoke of disabled childrens
rights to attend their local school.
These children are people and have rights and opportunities to be included, not
segregated and put apart. (Principal 5)

There were some clear differences between the views of principals in the x group and
those in the y group. As opposed to those in the y group, principals in the x group
described not turning children away, not excluding disabled children from participation,
not engaging in restricting the attendance of disabled students, and a belief in the rights
of disabled students.

Abuse and/or bullying


Abuse and bullying was another issue identified by parents as acting to exclude their
children from school. Data from the principal interviews were analysed to uncover
principals attitudes and practices in relation to this theme. Table 5.35 and subsequent
commentary present these findings.

140
Table 5.35
Principal interview: Abuse and bullying
Principals who agree that all Principals who disagree or are
students belong in regular schools unsure that all students belong in
(Group x) regular schools (Group y)
P1 P2 P3 P4 P5 P6 P7 P8 P9 P10
Bullying is an issue for
inclusive education
No we dont have bullying
at this school
Yes we do have bullying at
this school
No teachers do not bully
students at this school
Some teachers do bully
students at this school
We have plans and
procedures to reduce
bullying at this school

Three principals from the y group and one from the x group believed that bullying was
an issue for inclusive education. One principal believed that it occurred if children did
not have the ability to cope with difference because children who appeared and behaved
differently can be isolated and picked on by their peers if the culture of the school
allows it (P7). One principal believed it was an issue because often disabled students
did not have the ability to get out of tricky situations (P8). Most principals thought
that bullying occurred at most schools, although only three stated that it happened in
their school (Principals 5, 6 and 9). When asked if they had ever seen the bullying of
students by teachers, two principals said that they had seen examples in their school.
Both described their abhorrence of the practice and outlined how they would tactfully
address the issue. In both cases, this was not by confronting the teacher outright with
their behaviour and stating clearly that this was not acceptable. For example, one
principal said:
I said to them what was that noise in thereI kept talking about it and the
person came back to me and said I apologise and I shouldnt have done that
and Im sorry I did it. (Principal 9)

When queried about teacher and student bullying three principals described the plans
and procedures their schools used for reducing the incidence of bullying. These
included specific bullying programmes, encouraging children to inform teachers if they
see bullying, and one school who surveyed their children twice a year regarding their
beliefs on school bullying and physical and emotional safety.

141
There were no discernable differences between the beliefs and practices of principals in
the x and y groups in relation to bullying and abuse.

Caring and valuing of child


The data from phase one of the study highlighted that a lack of caring and valuing of
disabled children acted to exclude disabled students from and within school. Data from
the principal interviews were analysed to uncover principals attitudes and practices in
relation to this theme. Table 5.36 and subsequent commentary present these findings.

Table 5.36
Principal interview: Caring and valuing of disabled children
Principals who agree that all Principals who disagree or are
students belong in regular schools unsure that all students belong in
(Group x) regular schools (Group y)
P1 P2 P3 P4 P5 P6 P7 P8 P9 P10
Perceive disabled children
as different and separate
from non-disabled children
Perceive non-disabled
students to have more rights
to and in education than
disabled students
Meeting the needs of
disabled students is viewed
from a charity perspective
Disabled students are
viewed from a deficit
perspective
All students are treated as
individuals
All students have equal
rights to education
Classroom teachers are
responsible for all students
Classroom teachers are not
responsible for disabled
students

All principals in the y group described a range of principles and practices indicating that
they perceived disabled students to be inherently different from non-disabled students
(with these differences came different rights on the part of these students and
obligations on the part of their teachers which will be discussed later in this section).
Disabled students interfering with the best interests of the other students was a theme
that was quoted by principals in this group.

142
If you have a child with special needs you have to have the resources to meet
their needs and not muck up the learning of the other kids, I think that is
essential. (Principal 8)

Yes, I think that it gets extremely difficult if the needs for attention are so high
that it is disruptive to the normal operation of the classroom. (Principal 7)

I think other children miss out as a result. (Principal 6)

For one principal who had a special needs unit in the school, the students enrolled there
were not seen as her children.
They come to assembly every morning, they are on the playground every day.
Our own children go down and wheel them up. (Principal 9)

Closely associated with the theme of believing disabled students were inherently
different from non-disabled students was the idea of the rights of disabled students.
Each of the comments above can be linked to a belief that disabled students have less
rights to education than non-disabled students. Principals from the y group indicated
this belief in a number of comments:
We get complaints from parents of the other children who want to know why
their childs classroom is being disrupted or why the attention time is being
soaked up by a child its not fair. (Principal 7)

Oh yes, absolutely, they [parents of non-disabled students] dont want them and
I dont blame them you know why do you want those badly behaved or
intellectually impaired students taking teacher time that your kids can get.
(Principal 6)

We have a room where they can go to in the morningyou cant have them
rolling around the floor for a start we dont have enough room. (Principal 10)

Two principals from the y group displayed a charity perspective in relation to disabled
students. One principal, when describing the strengths of the teacher aides in the school
said:
We are very blessed with people that have been here for years that arent just
doing it for the money. A lot of them are mothers and the mothering thing is just
that natural caring. (Principal 10)

Deficit model thinking was apparent in the responses of three principals (two from the y
group and one from the x group) with a focus on the things that children could not do as
a reason to exclude them from the mainstream setting.

143
Four principals (three from the x group and one from the y group) spoke of the
importance of treating children as individuals and seeing them as children first and
foremost. One principal stressed that disabled students are more like non-disabled
students than unlike them.
Preconceived ideas of what children might be, looking at their previous history,
not taking into account that possibility some of the problems might have
occurred due to personality problems. And some communities not accepting
other people, not accepting how other people are, individuality things like that
and I think that is what a lot of the barriers are. (Principal 3)

Four principals from the x group talked of the rights of disabled students to an
education. For principal ten, this was in relation to all children having a right to enrol in
their special unit. Principal one showed a strong commitment to rights, mentioning
this more than ten times during the interview. This included the right to an education,
the right to be themselves and the right to be with their mates.
They have a right to be here, this is their school. (Principal 1)

The responsibility of the teacher to meet the needs of all students in the class was an
issue for parents in this study, particularly in relation to the value placed on their child.
Two principals from the x group indicated clearly that inclusive education involved
teachers taking responsibility for all the students For example, principal one said:
We get supported through a very good teacher, specialist teacher but as I
pointed out to them [class teachers] if these people werent here they would be
totally responsible for these kids. (Principal 1)

In contrast, principals six, seven and ten made comments indicating their belief that the
classroom teacher was not responsible for meeting the needs of disabled students. For
example:
I realised that I was making no progress and at a cost to the other students in
my class so then I stopped and I allowed teacher aides to work with the student
when possible. As long as the student was at the back of the room and didnt
disrupt the rest of the children, I got on with my job. (Principal 6)

The issue of valuing and caring of disabled students showed marked differences
between the two groups. Principals in the y group generally held beliefs that disabled
students were less valuable and less deserving than non-disabled students. There was
also a general belief by three of the five principals in this group that disabled students

144
were not the responsibility of the class teacher. Charity and deficit beliefs were also
apparent in this group.

Funding
In phase one of this study, parents identified funding issues as barriers to their childs
presence and participation at school. Data from the principal interviews were analysed
to uncover principals attitudes and practices in relation to this theme. Table 5.37 and
subsequent commentary present these findings.

Table 5.37
Principal interview: Funding
Principals who agree that all Principals who disagree or are
students belong in regular schools unsure that all students belong in
(Group x) regular schools (Group y)
P1 P2 P3 P4 P5 P6 P7 P8 P9 P10
Funding is necessary for
successful inclusive
education
Lack of funding is a barrier
to inclusive education
We need to look at ways to
get over funding shortfalls
Difficulties with ORRS
funding

While not all principals identified a lack of funding when asked to identify what they
believed were the barriers to inclusive education (see Table 5.32), in subsequent
discussions, all 10 principals talked of the necessity of funding for inclusive education.
However, the importance placed on this varied between principals. For example two
principals believed that while funding was necessary, and in short supply, schools
needed to be creative in finding ways to get over funding shortfalls.
We have got money through the [name of programme] and we are into our
second year of the [name of programme] and we have had success with that, so
where possible we get contestable funding. We use the Resource Teachers of
Literacy or any of those support services where possible to get additional
funding as well. (Principal 4)

Funding does come into it, but that should not be looked at as a barrier. Look at
ways of getting around it. (Principal 3)

However, principals two, six, seven, nine and ten believed lack of funding was a
definite barrier to inclusive education.

145
Principal one found difficulties paying for teacher aides from the Ongoing Reviewable
Resourcing Scheme (ORRS)24 funding because it did not cover any sick leave. This
principal found himself questioning whether he would have to deny enrolment to out of
zone ORRS funded students if funding did not increase. This was also a dilemma for
principal five, who was considering denying out of zone enrolments to any ORRS
funded students once they reached 20 of these students in their school.
The Ministry is saying that our special needs programme is not big enough to
support direct funding, you are supposed to have 20 or more ORRS funded
pupils to be directly resourced and we range between 16 and 20. With the
increases of salaries for support staff which has been very good and proper over
the last few years of about 12 percent, the funding that has come in to support
our programme has not come anywhere near that amount. (Principal 5)

Principals four and five stated that they would rather have the funding allocated directly
to them, than it going through GSE.
And really, from where I sit, I would rather have the funding and be able to
access you know contract people to come in and provide the support you need.
But having said that we have in this area very good support from GSE.
(Principal 4)

Four principals (three from the y group and one from the x group) spoke of difficulties
with the ORRS application and funding process. All four principals believed that
children who should be ORRS funded were missing out. One principal bemoaned the
arbitrary nature of the allocation process.
Another problem we have is the sheer difficulty of actually having a child
verified as ORRSit seems to me they draw an arbitrary line in the sand and if
you fit under there you do and if you dont you dont. (Principal 7)

There were no discernable differences between the beliefs and practices of principals in
the x and y group in relation to funding.

Teacher aides
The data from phase one of the study highlighted issues associated with teacher aides
that acted to exclude disabled students from and within school. Data from the principal
interviews were analysed to uncover principals attitudes and practices in relation to this
theme. Table 5.38 and subsequent commentary present these findings.
24
Ongoing Reviewable Resourcing Scheme is a funding mechanism for individual students who are
verified as having high or very high needs. Funding is allocated to schools for teacher and teacher aide
time as well as for professional support and intervention.

146
Table 5.38
Principal interview: Teacher-aide
Principals who agree that all Principals who disagree or are
students belong in regular schools unsure that all students belong in
(Group x) regular schools (Group y)
P1 P2 P3 P4 P5 P6 P7 P8 P9 P10
Teacher aides are necessary
for inclusive education
Teacher aides work
specifically with disabled
students
TAs can get too close to
child and exclude socially
and create dependencies
TA also supports the class
teacher/works with all
students

All principals in the y group and one from the x group specifically stated that teacher
aides are necessary for successful inclusive education.
The equal access to everything shouldnt be an issue as long as there are
support personnel to support the child in whatever they need. (Principal 8)

Teacher aides are absolutely vital. (Principal 9)

We can probably cope with most children in the classroom if there is adult
support. (Principal 7)

In one case the principal pointed out that this was necessary for the safety of the child
themselves and for the safety of the students and teachers at the school.
We had a teacher aide attached to him 24/7 she just shadows him now
because he has lashed out at the teachers. Because the other children in the unit
are all fragile physically small children, we cant risk him being more than a
couple of metres away from a teacher aide. (Principal 9)

Four principals from the y group indicated that teacher aides worked specifically with
individual disabled students, although for one of these principals, this varied according
to the needs of the child.
Well it varies depending on the need, but if we get to the more severe situations,
usually one on one sitting with the child along side the child. (Principal 7)

Four principals (three from the x group and one from the y group) believed that having
a teacher aide attached to a disabled student could isolate them socially and make
them overly dependent on the teacher aide.

147
Teacher aides can get in the way of inclusion, just by physically being there just
by doing too much for the person they are supposed to be working with. By
treating them as a special case not just a kid with special needs. (Principal 8)

Principal three believed that teacher aides were not always the best support believing
that the classroom teacher should teach disabled children.
In some ways I dont see that teacher aides always are the best resource for
some of these children. I think really they should be taught by the teacher so
sometimes its a matter of attitudebecause the teacher is the expert, not the
teacher aide. (Principal 3)

Issues around teacher aides showed some marked differences between the two groups.
Principals in the y group generally held beliefs that teacher aides were necessary for
inclusive education and that they need to work specifically with disabled students.
Three out of five principals in the x group mentioned that teacher aides can get too close
to disabled students and interfere with their social functioning.

5.5.1 Phase Two School Principal Interview Summary


All principals in the sample believed that inclusive education was about welcoming
disabled students into their neighbourhood school. However, for some principals, this
meant welcoming them into their special needs unit, which was in the grounds of the
school. For others it meant welcoming students as long as they were not too disabled.
Only two principals believed that inclusive education was about welcoming disabled
students into regular classes with regular teachers with no conditions attached.

In relation to the barriers and enablers to inclusion, the perceptions of principals from
both the x group and the y group were similar in many instances. This included the
confidence, knowledge and willingness of the class teacher as well as adequate funding
and support staff. There were differences between the x and y group in relation to the
role of the disabled students themselves in their exclusion. Whereas no principals from
the x group identified the student themselves as a barrier or enabler, three principals
from the y group did. Another factor identified by two principals from the x group and
not identified by any of the principals in the y group was accepting students individual
needs.

148
Data from the principal interviews were analysed based on the factors identified by
parents as barriers to their childs presence and participation at school. No discernable
differences were found in the views of principals in the x and y group in relation to
bullying and abuse, funding, and teacher knowledge and understanding. Small
differences were discernable between the views of principals in the x and y group in
relation to behaviour towards parents.

In relation to enrolment and participation issues, there were clear differences between
the views of principals in the x group and those in the y group. Principals in the x group
described not turning children away, not excluding disabled children from participation
and not engaging in the practice of restricting the attendance of disabled students. They
also described a belief in the rights of disabled children to presence and participation at
school. These were factors not described by principals in the y group.

Similarly in relation to issues associated with the valuing and caring about disabled
students, clear differences were apparent. All principals in the y group described a range
of principles and practices indicating that they perceived disabled students to be
inherently different from non-disabled students and less worthy than non-disabled
students. There was also a general belief indicated by three of the five principals in this
group that disabled students were not the responsibility of the class teacher. No
principals in the x group held these views. Conversely, four of the five principals from
the x group spoke of their belief in the rights of disabled students.

There were also differences between the two groups of principals in respect to issues
associated with teacher aides. All principals from the y group mentioned the necessity
of teacher aides for successful inclusive education, and four mentioned that their role is
to work specifically with disabled students. Only one principal from the x group
mentioned the necessity of teacher aides, and no principals from this group talked about
teacher aides working specifically with disabled students. On the contrary, three
principals in the x group believed that teacher aides can get too close to disabled
students and interfere with normal social functioning.

There were small differences in relation to issues associated with inappropriate


behaviour towards parents. While all expressed similar viewpoints regarding the

149
importance of good parent teacher partnerships, more empathy towards parents of
disabled students was expressed by principals in group x.

More principals in the x group spoke of the importance of curriculum and curriculum
adaptation than those in the y group.

5.6 Phase Three: Teacher Interview Results


Phase three of this study involved interviews with four teachers in one school. All
interview transcripts were analysed to identify respondents views and practices
associated with the themes parents had identified in phase one as barriers to their childs
presence and participation at school (see section 5.3). Table 5.39 provides background
information on these teachers.

Table 5.39
Teacher interview: Background information
Teacher one Teacher in charge of the special education unit
Teacher two Special Education Needs Coordinator (SENCO)
Teacher three Classroom teacher (junior school)
Teacher four Classroom teacher (senior school)

Initially, teachers were asked to talk about the concept of inclusive education, what it
meant to them, and what their views were about it. Table 5.40 presents the main themes
from the analysis of this data.

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Table 5.40
Teacher interview: What inclusive education means
Teachers
1 2 3 4
Being in the mainstream if they are able

Being with their peers if the gap is not too wide

Meeting the educational needs of all students

Giving all students the same opportunities within an


educational setting
Being part of the mainstream classroom programme for
certain activities
Including students with special needs in mainstream classes
when the class programme is appropriate
Including students with special needs in mainstream classes
if they are not too disruptive
Including students with special needs if it suits the child

For all teachers, inclusive education was focused on the student being physically
present in a mainstream class if their needs were not too high, or too different from the
non-disabled students, or if they were not too disruptive. None of the four teachers
spoke about inclusive education in relation to identifying and reducing barriers to their
presence and participation in mainstream settings. Teacher two did speak of inclusive
education as giving all students the same opportunities within an education setting,
however caveats were placed on this view such as if the students were not too
disruptive, or if they were not too different from their peers.

Teachers were asked to identify what they believed were the barriers and/or enablers to
inclusive education. Table 5.41 outlines these findings. For ease of interpretation, data
have been organised around the themes of teacher, student and context.

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Table 5.41
Teacher interview: The barriers/enablers to inclusive education
Teachers
1 2 3 4
Teachers
Lack of teacher knowledge/ knowledgeable teachers
Teachers not accepting/accepting disabled students in their class
Fearful teachers/confident teachers
Poor/effective teacher communication & consultation
Lack/adequate teacher time
Teacher not adapting/adapting the curriculum
Previous/no previous experience of teacher
Students and/or parents
Parents not thinking/thinking child can be mainstreamed
The behaviour or ability of the student
Lack of/good communication skills in the student
Not preparing/preparing the student for the mainstream
Context
Inadequate/adequate teacher aide support
Inadequate/adequate funding/resources
Inappropriate/appropriate physical environment
Fear/non fear of other students
Professionals not working/working together
Class size too large/not too large

All four teachers indicated that the degree of knowledge on the part of the teacher was
an important enabler or barrier to inclusive education. Two spoke of the importance of
professional development in this area for teachers and teacher aides.
Youve got to have that knowledge base. Be up-skilled in how to best support
these kiddies and from a teaching point of view and also our support staff.
(Teacher 2)

Three teachers identified teacher acceptance of disabled children as an enabler to


inclusive education. For one of these teachers, this acceptance had to come from the
entire school community if inclusive education was to be a reality.
You have to have everyone coming on board with you, you cant leave anyone, it
is a bit like a lifeboat, you cant leave anybody out. (Teacher 1)

One teacher pointed out that she thought the students in the school noticed that some
teachers were accepting of disabled students from the special education unit, and some
were not.
I think the kids pick up on this. Why do they go to that class and not that class?
(Teacher 4)

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All four teachers, but particularly teacher two, stressed the degree of communication
and consultation as important barriers or enablers. She pointed out that all parties
working and communicating together acted as a strong enabler to inclusive education
ensuring that good decisions were made for the disabled student.
The consultation process needs to be an important factor. Youve got to consult
with all the parties to be able to make sure that you as the professional are
making the right choice for the student. (Teacher 2)

Other issues identified were the importance of adapting the curriculum, a lack of teacher
time and a lack of teacher experience.

Three teachers identified a factor or factors associated with the disabled student
themselves as working for or against inclusive education. This included the students
behaviour, a lack of communication skills on the part of the disabled student, and the
disabled student not being adequately prepared for the mainstream.
I guess the ability of some of the kiddies to be successful in the mainstream.
Ideally we want all students to be included within the mainstream, but the reality
is it is not always possible, with some of our severely disabled kiddies. And you
know they can be disruptive. (Teacher 2)

One teacher said that when parents dont think their child can be educated in the
mainstream, this was a barrier to inclusive education.

All four teachers identified contextual issues as factors that can facilitate inclusion, or
act as a barrier. The provision of teacher aide support was an issue common to all four
teachers, who thought that it was necessary for successful inclusion. All teachers also
mentioned the importance of funding and resources. Two teachers were not specific
regarding what the funding was necessary for, and two teachers once more mentioned
the necessity for teacher aides when explaining the importance of funding.
The link with inclusion and funding often goes hand in glove with teacher aide
support. (Teacher 1)

One teacher thought resources such as classroom furniture and the right equipment were
enablers for successful inclusive education.

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Closely related to the issue of adequate resources was the issue of physical access to
buildings. Three teachers identified ramps and other environmental adaptations for
access as important for inclusive education.
Just the facilities, the environment. We are very lucky here we have got, you can
take a wheelchair anywhere, or take the children anywhere. (Teacher 4)

Fear of disabled students by their peers was identified as a barrier by two of the four
teachers.
Some of the children in my class wouldnt go into the unitthey didnt like it I
think because they hadnt met those children before. Some children go through
their life and they never come across children like that. (Teacher 4)

One teacher identified large class numbers as a barrier to successful inclusive education.

Teacher interviews were also analysed to identify respondents views and practices
associated with the barriers parents had identified in phase one. These were:
Knowledge and/or understanding of professionals
Behaviour towards parents
Curriculum access and participation
Enrolment, attendance and segregation
Abuse and/or bullying
Caring and valuing of child
Funding
Teacher aide

The teacher in charge of the special needs unit was very aware of the role of teacher
knowledge and understanding in including and excluding disabled students from
mainstream settings. This included teachers having preconceived ideas about the
disabled child, teachers not knowing the student and a lack of professional development
for classroom teachers.
I think it does help for the teachers to have some prior knowledge of the student.
Not from the point of view to be able to make a blanket decision before they get
there, but just to know that if there are certain things that occur, dont react
because that might be part of the students makeup. (Teacher 1)

In relation to teacher knowledge and understanding, two other teachers made reference
to the need for knowledgeable and skilled teachers. Both teachers believed that not

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enough was covered during the period of initial teacher education training, with one
teacher saying that the training in inclusive education was politically correct with not
enough focus on practical skills and strategies. The other teacher also mentioned the
importance of in-service professional development for successful inclusive education.
I think perhaps at Teachers College, when I was there, things were very PC
and things we were expected to say the right things and to have special needs
children in our class. We were not shown what we were going to need to do to
incorporate them, to include them. (Teacher 3)

None of the teachers spoke of the need for appropriate attitudes or acceptance on the
part of teachers in relation to inclusive education; nor spoke of the rights of disabled
students to attend their local neighbourhood school. One teacher spoke of the need for
teachers to seek knowledge and support for inclusive education to be a reality.

The teachers did not indicate negative attitudes towards parents, which were identified
in phase one of this study as a barrier to inclusive education (this included criticising,
threatening and blaming parents and not listening to parents). However, one teacher
spoke of the importance of listening to parents and consulting with them.
They [parent] know their child better than anybody else. (Teacher 1)

All teachers expressed the view that communication and consultation were important
enablers of inclusive education. All spoke of the importance of consulting with other
professionals to meet the needs of disabled students. Teachers two and four spoke of the
need to consult with other staff.
Successful inclusion communication, communication between all parties. Thats
GSE, the parents, myself, my colleagues, my support staff, the principal.
(Teacher 1)

Only two teachers mentioned the curriculum in relation to inclusive education. Teacher
three spoke of the need to make curriculum adaptations to include all students, but
pointed out that she already did this for the other students in her class. Teacher two also
indicated her belief that the curriculum needs to fit all students and can be adapted to do
this:
In terms of the curriculum, the curriculum needs to fit all students but in reality
it does not and this could be because some of our students have very high
disabilities. But in saying this, the curriculum can still be modified or adapted to

155
include those. Certainly there needs to be a lot of modifications and adaptations
to programmes. (Teacher 2)

In relation to enrolment and participation, no teachers spoke of denying disabled


students enrolment in the school, however, this may have been because it was assumed
they would attend the special education unit. All teachers did indicate that disabled
students would not automatically have the right to participate in all mainstream classes
and activities. In all cases, this was because teachers believed that disabled students
needs could not always be met in mainstream classes. While two teachers had talked
about the necessity of making adaptations to the curriculum so that disabled students
could participate, no teachers mentioned this when indicating their belief that the
participation of disabled students in mainstream classes was not always possible. For
one teacher, participation was not possible if a students needs were too different from
the mainstream. Here the emphasis was on the student not coping with the mainstream,
not the teacher not coping with the student.
In saying that though I think there are children that benefit from being in the
special needs unit. Because some of those children, their needs are so much
different to the needs of the children in the class that they couldnt be met well in
a mainstream class. (Teacher 3)

No teachers spoke of bullying in relation to any of the questions they were asked.

In relation to the value and worth placed on disabled students, three classroom teachers
spoke in ways that demonstrated disabled students were not as entitled to mainstream
education as non-disabled students. For example, teachers three and four both spoke of
having to consider the other students in the class, not seeing disabled students as part
of this group. Teacher two also explained that it was difficult enough to cope with her
own class without having extra [disabled] students. Two teachers indicated a belief that
disabled students needed to be able to adapt to the demands of the mainstream rather
than the mainstream adapt to the needs of the student and if the student could not cope,
then the mainstream was not suitable for them. One teacher spoke of a belief that there
are some students who cannot succeed in education.
School doesnt suit them, they need a childrens programme, they need to be out
in the fields or chopping wood or even life skills. They are not bright kids, they
are not going to succeed in education so we need to give them something they
can use. (Teacher 4)

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The notion of disabled students being different from non-disabled students was
reinforced by teacher two when she stated that:
You have to be a special sort of person to work with a large group of kiddies of
really high significant special needs. (Teacher 2)

In their comments, teachers demonstrated their belief that they were not responsible for
disabled students, and that they had a choice whether or not they allowed disabled
students in their class. These attitudes were confirmed by the teacher in charge of the
special needs unit when he pointed out that he had to try to sell his children to teachers
and other students.

Both teachers two and three believed that every disabled student had a right to
education but not necessarily a mainstream education with their non-disabled peers.
Teacher two also stressed that students could be different in different schools and if a
child had been excluded from another school, she would be happy to give them a fresh
start in her school.

Funding was seen as important by the teacher in charge of the special education unit,
and two other teachers. For the teacher in the unit, funding was seen as going hand in
glove with teacher aide support. Teacher three believed that the better resourced a
school was, the better teachers could include disabled students in mainstream settings.
In respect to funding, none of the teachers spoke of factors identified by parents in
phase one as barriers to their childs inclusion. This included parents being asked to
fund teacher aide hours, schools diverting the childs teacher aide hours, or denying
enrolment if funding was not present.

Issues associated with teacher aides were identified in the previous two phases of the
research. All four teachers believed that the provision of teacher aides was essential for
successful inclusive education. One teacher pointed out that teacher aides needed to
work carefully so as not to make the student reliant on them.
Yeah. Weve got a teacher aide that has been assigned to one of my students in
the class. And my understanding is that she is there to support that student and
funding is provided for that student being in the class. But in saying that I think
Id be doing the student and the teacher aide a disservice if I had her purely
working with that student. The student comes to rely on the one to one support.
(Teacher 3)

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The same teacher pointed out that it was not the role of the teacher aide to provide the
programme, this was the role of the teacher. She also tried to use the teacher aide in a
way that included the student in a group.
So the teacher aides role is to work with that child but she can include other
children in that. I guess it is a way of making resourcing go a little bit further so
that other children that may not be getting something are benefiting from that
extra input and the child that is getting it reaping the benefit of that group work
as well. (Teacher 3)

The teacher in charge of the special education unit reported that it was made clear to the
teacher aides that they were not there to do the work for the students, but to support the
teacher.

5.6.1 Phase Three: Teacher Interview Summary


Data from the teacher interviews reinforce some of the themes that emerged from the
previous two phases of the research. There was a belief from the teachers in this group
that disabled students were not as entitled to mainstream education as non-disabled
students. For example, the rights of other students had to be considered before the
needs of disabled students who were not described as part of this other group. Also,
while teachers were able to verbalise the need for curriculum adaptation, they indicated
that the reason disabled students could not be in the mainstream was because it was not
suitable for them. In this regard, there was no consideration of the possibility of
changing the mainstream to suit students.

While all teachers believed that all children had a right to an education, this was not
necessarily in mainstream schools. If students were considered too disabled it was
thought that segregated education would better suit their needs. Similarly, three teachers
believed that they were not responsible for disabled students; they believed they had a
choice whether or not to teach a disabled student in their class.

However, no teachers spoke of the misuse of funding, or the practice of asking parents
to fund teacher aides for their child at school as identified by parents in phase one of the
study. All teachers believed that funding was a necessity for successful inclusive
education.

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The issues associated with communication that were identified by parents in phase one,
were not mentioned by the four teachers. None of the teachers in the sample criticized
or blamed parents, however, only one identified respecting and listening to parents as an
enabler to inclusive education.

Teacher education (both pre-service and in-service) were identified by all teachers as
important enabler of inclusive education. Teacher knowledge was also identified as an
important enabler.

All teachers had an understanding of inclusive education that focused on the deficits or
differences of the student. None of the four teachers considered inclusive education to
be about identifying and breaking down barriers to the presence and participation of
disabled students at school.

5.7 Phase Three: Teacher Aide Focus Group Results


The teacher aide focus group consisted of five teacher aides who all worked with
individual children in the special needs unit of the school. They also accompanied
disabled students into the mainstream for some curriculum areas. The focus group
interview explored teacher aides perceptions of: inclusive education; the barriers and
enablers to inclusive education; the role of teacher knowledge and confidence in
facilitating inclusive education; and specific contextual issues identified by parents as
acting to exclude their children from or within school. It also explored the role of the
teacher aides within the school.

Participants were asked to talk about their beliefs regarding inclusive education. All five
teacher aides who responded to this question were doubtful that inclusive education
could work. Reasons given were that disabled children needed a lot of resources and
services that they believed could not be provided for in mainstream classes; the students
would not be able to cope, both with the work and the environment; that mainstream
teachers would not be able to cope with disabled children; and that parents of non-
disabled students would complain. One teacher aide pointed out that disabled children
would not get the quality of education in the mainstream that they received in the
special unit.

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They wouldnt be able to do the work and the changing facilities. And a lot of
our students need changing and their walking frames and their standing frames,
things like that. (Teacher aide focus group)

All agreed that every child had a right to attend school, but there was general agreement
that this was not necessarily in a mainstream class. It was thought that including
disabled children in mainstream classes would depend on the ability of the child. If they
had the intellectual capacity, it would be appropriate. A view was expressed that if
inclusive education was going to be a reality, there would need to be changes to the
classroom.
I think it depends on the child, what the child is actually like. If the child is a
bright child then it would probably be okay to be in a mainstream class. But if a
child is fairly disabled that would make it very, very hard. (Teacher aide focus
group)

Participants in the focus group talked about their role. All five teacher aides worked
with a number of different students from the special needs unit, not just one. This was
done deliberately so that the student and the teacher aide did not get too attached to each
other. Teacher aides worked with students in the unit on their individual programmes
(devised by the special needs teacher), or accompanied them into the mainstream and
worked with the student. Again, their programmes were devised by the special needs
teacher who is in charge of the special education unit. One teacher talked of trying to
ensure that the child she accompanied into the mainstream does what all the other
students are doing:
If the other students are doing something like sitting on the mat and doing a
morning discussion or anything like that, we also do that. We do what all the
other students are doing except when they go to do their language work, we go
to do ours but still sitting at the same table. So we try and do everything that the
others do except the work. (Teacher aide focus group)

There was agreement amongst the group that teacher aides needed to be valued more by
classroom teachers and school principals.
We are only teacher aidesI dont think we are valued. I dont think we get the
proper recognition and the support from mainstream teachers that we should
get for the work that we do. (Teacher aide focus group)

In phase one of the research, parents raised three issues associated with teacher aides.
These were that a lack of teacher aide time was used as a justification to deny disabled
students access to learning experiences; that the teacher aide was used in such a way

160
that they excluded disabled students from the mainstream; and that classroom teachers
saw disabled students as the responsibility of the teacher aide. The teacher aides in the
focus group explained that students who were not funded on the Ongoing Reviewable
Resourcing Scheme (ORRS) were not permitted to enrol in the unit. They also reported
that if a disabled child did not get ORRS funding, they could only come to the
mainstream school with teacher aide funding.
Because the schools wont take them on if they are not ORRS funded. [Name of
school principal] wont have children that arent ORRS funded.

So what happens if a child came to this school, perhaps had special needs, or
was disabled in some way but didnt get ORRS funding, could they still come to
this school? [interviewer]

Only if they had teacher aide. If they were in the mainstream class but not in the
Unit.

So you have to have ORRS funding to go into the Unit?

Yes we do dont we? [name of school principal] wont let any children in there
without ORRS funding.

None of the teacher aides expressed a view that they might act in such a way, or they
might be required to work in such a way that excluded disabled students from the
mainstream and their non-disabled peers.

That classroom teachers may see disabled students as the responsibility of the teacher
aide, was only mentioned by one teacher aide. She pointed out that when teachers
viewed the responsibility for disabled students to rest with the teacher aide, this was a
barrier to inclusion. However, very closely related to this is classroom teachers not
believing that they were responsible for disabled students. Many of the teacher aides
made comments about teacher responsibility. For example, if a mainstream teacher said
hello to a student from the unit, or interacted with them in other ways, this was noticed
and considered exceptional by the teacher aides, not something that was an accepted
part of their role.
The teacher that weve got is really good, she is very good, she interacts with
the child and speaks to him when we go into class and says hello. (Teacher aide
focus group)

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Some teacher aides believed that classroom teachers would be shocked if they were
asked to have disabled students in their class full time, and others spoke of teachers not
coping with disabled students as one of the reasons that inclusive education was not
possible. One teacher aide reported that teachers did not enjoy having disabled students,
indicating that this was another valid reason why inclusive education could not be
possible. When choosing mainstream classes for disabled students to work in, only
those that had teachers who were interested were considered.
And there are only certain teachers in this school that he [teacher in the special
needs unit] probably approaches for mainstreaming because the others arent
interested. (Teacher aide focus group)

I dont think its that they are not interested, its just that they cant be bothered.
(Teacher aide focus group)

Many of the teacher aides in the focus group talked of other issues associated with
classroom teachers. The lack of teacher training and teacher understanding was seen as
a barrier to successful inclusive education.
I think all teachers nowadays should be trained when they go to university, and
it should be part of their training, learning how to cope with special needs
children. Because there is a lot more of special needs children out there now
than what there ever used to bea lot of parents are choosing that their child
doesnt go into a special needs class, they want their child to be normal and the
teachers arent trained for that. (Teacher aide focus group)

Teachers not coping, teachers being scared of disabled students, and teachers not being
interested in meeting the needs of disabled students were also identified as barriers to
inclusion.

5.7.1 Phase Three: Teacher Aide Focus Group Summary


Data from the teacher aide focus group reinforce some of the themes that emerged from
the previous two phases of the research. The teacher aides believed that students
entitlement to an inclusive education was based on the severity of the needs of the
students. If students needs were too severe, the services and equipment they needed
could not be provided in the mainstream. If services and equipment could not be
provided in the mainstream, students could not expect an inclusive education. All
agreed that disabled students did have an entitlement to education in general, but not
necessarily to mainstream education.

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All teacher aides seemed aware of the important role that teacher knowledge and
attitude played in relation to successful inclusive education. They believed that some
teachers were not trained to meet the needs of disabled students, that they did not have
adequate knowledge, and they were fearful of disabled students. There was a general
agreement that most teachers would not be able to cope with disabled students in their
classrooms fulltime.

Closely associated with teacher knowledge and attitude were issues associated with
teacher responsibility. Teacher aides indicated that it was not generally considered the
responsibility of the mainstream classroom teacher to meet the needs of disabled
students. Only those teachers who were positive about mainstreaming were approached
to include disabled students in their class. When teachers treated disabled stduents well,
this was considered a bonus. When disabled students from the unit were involved in the
mainstream class, they had programmes designed by the teacher in charge of the special
needs unit.

Teacher aides spoke of the practice of excluding disabled students from enrolment if
they did not have funding allocated to support the employment of teacher aides.
Students who were not ORRS funded were denied enrolment in the special needs unit,
and if they did not have teacher aide allocation, the teacher aides in the focus group
reported a belief that they would also be denied enrolment in the mainstream school.

When discussing their role, all teacher aides spoke of working with students on
individual curriculum programmes. No-one spoke of aspects associated with the social
and emotional development of the student, or working to have the student part of the
school community. The teacher aides did not report that they excluded disabled students
from presence and participation in the mainstream, as raised by some parents in phase
one of the study.

5.8 Phase Three: Student Focus Group Results


Six year-6 students participated in the focus group interview.. This interview explored
students perceptions of their school, their teachers, what school was like for them, what

163
happened to kids who were disabled or different, and their views and attitudes towards
disability and inclusive education.

Initially, students were asked to talk about what it was like at their school. Generally
students all agreed that playtime and lunchtime was the best thing about the school
because they could be with their friends. One student thought the fun stuff they got to
do, for example art and knitting, was the best thing about the school. One student
thought getting rewarded was the best thing and another said the people and the
teachers.
The best thing about this school is at playtime and lunchtime. Its like up to us if
we want to be good or not and we can hang out with our friends and we dont
get forced.
You get to play with people and you get to get PE gear out. (Student focus
group)

One student summed up what it was like for her at the school.
With our school its like a really nice environment because people just get
along. If somebody is new here and they are like ashamed or scared or
something, other people will just go up and say are you bored or something, do
you want to come and play with me? and that is how they make new friends.
(Student focus group)

When asked about the worst thing about the school, two students thought that it was
when people are naughty and the teacher growls or shouts at them. One added that the
worst thing was when everyone in the class had to pay the consequences for those
students who get into trouble. One student thought the work was the worst thing, and
another student thought the bullies were the worst thing about the school. One student
said other kids annoying her and breaking up her games.
Like when some people get growled at and we have some people be naughty and
the good people have to pay the consequences. (Student focus group)

The thing that I hate about this school is that there are bullies and all that and
they get us into trouble when they are lying. (Student focus group)

In relation to the best and worst things about the school, no students raised any issues
associated with disabled students or the special education unit.

When asked to talk about bullying, all the students spoke of some aspect of bullying
that concerned them. These were all were associated with peer bullying. No students

164
spoke of teacher bullying. They reported that students got bullied if they were very
good, if they were the teachers pet, if they did something wrong in a game in the
playground, or if they showed off. While most thought that teachers did not know about
all of the bullying, there was general agreement that their school was safe for them.
Most of the students in the focus group talked about the peer mediators25 in their school:
Its kind of safe because when youve got friends, because there are two
mediators walking around most of the time but if you are getting bullied you can
or if you are hurt like you fall off the playground equipment they can help you.
(Student focus group)

One student thought that if they had more male teachers, there would be less fights:
I think they need more boy teachers to stop most of the fights. Because we had
the same amount of boy teachers and the girl teachers at my old school.
(Student focus group)

The students were asked to talk about students with special needs.26 When asked if they
had any students with special needs in their classes, none said that they did. One student
replied:
No, there is the special needs class over there. Sometimes they come into
different classrooms. (Student focus group)

When asked if the students from the special needs unit ever come into their classes, the
students explained that they came into mainstream classes for certain times of the day.
Yeah. There is this boy and he goes into that class for a couple of hours and just
works with them. One of the teachers in the special needs class goes with him.
(Student focus group)

When asked if they knew the names of the students in the unit, many of the students in
the focus group could name them. When asked if the students in the special needs unit
were part of the school, they agreed that these students were part of the school. An
example was given by one student that they came to assembly, walked around at lunch
time and their teacher aide took them around the school when everyone is doing work.
When asked if the students from the special needs unit were treated well, all thought
that they were, although one student said that while other students were nice to their

25
Peers who are trained to help students resolve disputes between each other.
26
The term special needs was used in the focus group as this was the term that the students were
familiar with.

165
face, they were mean to them behind their backs. No students mentioned disabled
students being treated badly by teachers.

When asked how things could be better for the students in the special needs unit, two
students thought there should be more communication and liaison between the
mainstream school and the special needs unit.
Sometimes the teachers could set up, with [name of special needs unit teacher] a
day with them or a couple of hours. And then two kids or someone could go
over there for two hours and spend some time with them. (Student focus group)

One student suggested that the school needed to be one whole school and a community.
They thought that this could happen by getting to know the students from the unit better
and going over to the unit more often. One student thought that the students in the
special needs unit should go to mainstream classes to really get to know each other.
This way they would not be left out of the school.
If they go to other classes to get really known to each other. So they know that
they are not left out of the school. (Student focus group)

Another student suggested that things could be better for the students from the special
needs unit if they had their own playground.

Students were asked if they thought it was best to have students in a special needs unit
or in mainstream classes. Four of the six students thought that they should be in a
special needs unit because they get more care; it is more fun for them; they feel
comfortable there because they know the teachers; because people in the mainstream
wont know what to do with them; and because there were more people to look after
them in the unit. Two students thought they should be in both the unit and the
mainstream classroom. One gave the reason that they could learn to do normal stuff in
the mainstream classroom, then take that back to the unit.
I reckon its good if they be in their room and its good if they come into the
normal classroom sometimes to learn about what the normal kids are doing and
then when they go back they can start doing that in their room. (Student focus
group)

The students had mixed ideas about the concept of special needs. There was general
agreement that this concept was only associated with significant impairment,
particularly in relation to brain function. Students agreed if a person had difficulty

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learning or reading, or had difficulty with hearing or vision, this was not special needs
as it was still normal. As a follow up to a student who talked about students with
special needs as not being normal, the interviewer asked:
So would you call someone who had trouble learning, or had trouble reading,
would you call them normal?[interviewer]

Yeah but they just couldnt learn properly. They are still normal. (Student focus
group)

One student pointed out that the principal had bad eyesight, but he was still normal.

There was agreement amongst the group that special needs equated to abnormal, and
abnormal was associated with impairments in brain function.
It depends. If it with your eyesight or you ears you can still do all the other stuff
but not
But with your brain its a bit different? [interviewer]
Yeah because you brain controls your whole body. And if you get brain damage
like your brain blanks out and you dont know what to do because its like, that
controls the whole body. (Student focus group)

In terms of how people come to have special needs, one student thought it depended on
how parents treated the child.
The parents. Depending on how you grow up and what happens to you because
depending on the parents if they are going to treat you well. (Student focus
group)

One student thought that people were born that way, and one student explained that it
happened if your brain becomes damaged for example, in a car accident.

5.8.1 Phase Three: Student Focus Group Summary


Students who participated in the focus group generally spoke positively about their
school. The best things about the school for them were associated with socialising
times, such as playtime and lunchtime. Also, they liked being involved in fun activities
such as art. The worst thing for the students was growling teachers, bullying and the
work they were required to do.

In terms of bullying, all students had reported that bullying did occur at their school but
that they generally felt safe there. The students did not believe that disabled students

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were bullied, although one student did point out that sometimes people were unkind
about them behind their backs. No students mentioned teacher bullying.

Students gave the general impression that the students in the special education unit,
while part of the school theoretically, were in fact separate from the mainstream. They
indicated this by comments associated with what improvements they thought needed to
happen for these students. For example, better mixing of students from the unit with the
mainstream students; that it was better for the disabled students themselves to have their
own unit and teachers; and that mainstream teachers would not know what to do.

Students in the focus group had definite ideas of what special needs meant. Special
needs equated to not normal and it was students with intellectual impairments who
were thought to have special needs. Those students with sensory impairments and
learning difficulties were thought to be normal and not have special needs.

5.9 Additional Information


At the conclusion of the three phases of data gathering, it became apparent that further
data was required to gather information for emerging themes that were unable to be
explored through way of the data that had already been gathered. Results of the study
appeared to suggest an apparent disregard by some teachers and school Boards of
Trustees of their legal and human rights obligations in relation to disabled students. The
questions raised therefore were how was this able to happen, and why were the
accountability procedures that all schools are subject to, not picking this up?

Particularly relevant to this study is school Boards of Trustees (BOT) obligations to


adhere to the legislation that pertains to disabled students rights, including rights to a
safe environment, to access the school and the curriculum (without extra financial cost),
to have access to the class teacher, and in general, to be treated on no less favourable
terms than non-disabled students. Also relevant is the responsibility of the Education
Review Office (ERO) to ensure that schools are indeed fulfilling their obligations in this
area. Results from this study suggest that there may not be the level of investigation by
ERO into school compliance for disabled students.

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In New Zealand the Education Review Office (ERO) was established to ensure that
schools and school Boards of Trustees fulfil their obligations. The ERO is a government
department that is charged with evaluating and publicly reporting on the quality of
education and care of students in schools and early childhood centres. When evaluating
schools and early childhood centres, The ERO focuses on three things: school specific
priorities; government priorities; and compliance issues.

To gather further information to explore the theme of compliance and accountability, 20


ERO school evaluation reports in one geographical city in New Zealand, in the years
2006 and 2007 were selected and examined (all ERO evaluation reports are available
online through the ERO website). Four criteria were set for this examination:
1. Was attention given to the factors that act to exclude disabled students?
2. Was attention given to compliance with legal and human rights obligations as they
affect disabled students?
3. Was attention given to the use of teacher aides in schools?
4. What attention was given to the notion of inclusive schools?

There were a number of indications that ERO are not attending to issues associated with
disabled students. For example in one schools report, ERO reported on the provision
for students who are underachieving. However, in the opening paragraph, it was pointed
out that their review of this area did not include students who were in the special needs
unit. Similarly, in another school where there was a special needs unit, ERO did not
comment on any issues (either as good performance or needing attention) pertaining to
the students in this unit.

Another noteworthy finding from this examination of ERO school review reports was
that none of the reports made mention of students or childrens rights. Similarly, in
only six of the 20 reports was any mention made of the use of teacher aides. In all cases,
these were general comments regarding their use. Of particular significance, one report
on a school where seven teacher aides were employed, made no reference to them at all.

Another relevant issue is that no reference was made in any of the reports to the New
Zealand Disability Strategy. The Ministry of Education report that they are committed
to implementing the objectives of the New Zealand Disability Strategy (New Zealand

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Ministry of Education, 2007a), of which one objective (with eight associated actions) is
to provide the best education for disabled people (Ministry of Health, 2001, p. 18).
Therefore, it would be expected that some mention be made of schools performance in
this respect.

The terms inclusion and inclusive were often used in many of the ERO reports.
However, they were used in general terms without any specificity and explanation
regarding the meaning that was attached to their use. For example, Inclusive
relationships are encouraged through meaningful interventions and Students work in
an inclusive environment highly conducive to their learning (ERO, 2007, page not
given).

It should be noted that these results need to be interpreted with caution. The data are
based on a brief examination of a small number of ERO reports in only one
geographical area of New Zealand and provide an indicative issue for further
exploration.

5.10 Summary
This chapter has presented the results of all three phases of the study. Tables 5.425.45
present a summary of the main findings of each phase.

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Table 5.42
Summary of phase one findings
Phase Data Gathering Tool Main Findings
One Parent questionnaire Main forms of exclusion:
Abuse and bullying
Lack of teacher knowledge and understanding
Parents opinions and knowledge not listened to
Low expectations of disabled children
Medical model, deficit model thinking by teachers
Lack of curriculum adaptations/accommodations
Lack of teacher responsibility
Child not valued or wanted by school
Teacher aide issues
Parent interview Main forms of exclusion:
Lack of teacher knowledge and understanding
Inappropriate behaviour by principals and/or teachers
towards parents
Difficulties accessing and participating in the
curriculum
Difficulties with enrolment, attendance and segregation
Abuse and bullying
Lack of caring and valuing of child
Funding issues
Teacher aide issues

Table 5.43
Summary of phase two findings
Phase Data Gathering Tool Main Findings
Two Principal questionnaire Most principals reported:
Doubt over whether schools can and should meet the
needs of all children
Lack of knowledge of legislation and funding
frameworks
An awareness of the practice of teacher to student
bullying and student to student bullying
A general belief that teachers are responsible for all
children
Funding as an important enabler for inclusive
education
Teacher aides as an important enabler for inclusive
education
Most principals did not report:
Lack of caring and valuing of disabled children
Deficit/medical model thinking
Other findings:
There were differences between what principals say
they believe in and what they do (e.g., agreeing with
inclusion, but excluding some children; reporting they
treat all parents with respect, but advising parents of
disabled students to attend other schools)

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Table 5.43 (cont.)
Summary of phase two findings
Phase Data Gathering Tool Main Findings
Principal interview Most principals reported:
That most barriers and enablers to inclusive education
centre around teachers
Funding is very important for inclusive education
Most principals did not report:
A recognition of the role played by school principals in
the inclusion/exclusion of disabled students
Differences between the x and y groups:
Deficit model thinking apparent in principals in the y
group
Only principals in the y group reported denying disabled
students enrolment and full participation at school
Most principals in the x group identified rights as an
important factor associated with inclusive education
Only principals in the y group reported perceiving
disabled students as different from non-disabled students
Only principals in the y group reported beliefs that non-
disabled students have more rights than disabled students
Only principals in the y group reported beliefs that
teachers were not responsible for disabled students
Principals in the y group reported that teacher aides were
necessary for inclusive education and worked
exclusively with disabled students
Other findings:
There were differences between what principals say they
believe in and what they do (agreeing with inclusion, but
excluding some children)
Confusion around the term inclusive education

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Table 5.44
Summary of phase three findings
Phase Data Gathering Tool Main Findings
Three Teacher interview Most teachers reported:
A belief that disabled students can only be in the
mainstream if their needs are not too great
A belief that teacher knowledge; teacher aide support;
and funding and resourcing are enablers or barriers to
inclusive education
A belief that class teachers are not responsible for
disabled students
An understanding of inclusive education based on
deficits and differences of disabled students
A belief that disabled students held less value and had
fewer rights than non-disabled students
Teacher aide focus Most teacher aides reported:
group interview Doubt that inclusive education could work
Every child had a right to attend school, but not
necessarily in the mainstream
Being undervalued
Teachers rights were more important than disabled
students rights
Teacher training was a barrier or enabler to inclusive
education
Teacher attitudes were barriers or enablers to inclusive
education
Student focus group Most students reported:
interview Positivity about their school
Feeling safe at school
That the disabled students in the unit were separate from
the rest of the school
Special needs means not normal
No prejudice was evident in the comments of the students

Table 5.45
Summary of additional findings
Phase Data Gathering Main Findings
Tool
Additional Analysis of 20 ERO ERO may not be giving enough attention to:
school evaluation The specific needs of disabled students in schools
reports in one School compliance requirements in relation to Human
geographical area in Rights Declarations, Human Rights Legislation, Sections
NZ 3 and 8 of The 1989 Education Act, and the New
Zealand Disability Strategy
The use of teacher aides in schools
Their use of the terms inclusion, inclusive and
inclusive education

The following chapter will present a discussion of the results.

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CHAPTER SIX
DISCUSSION
______________________________________________________________________

6.1 Introduction
The aim of this study was to explore the nature of school exclusion of disabled students.
Data were gathered from parents of disabled children on the barriers their child had
experienced to being included at school. These findings were then explored with school
principals, teachers, teacher aides and, to a lesser extent, school students.

This chapter considers the results of the three phases of the study. The findings will be
discussed within the context of the existing literature as well as with regard to issues
that could be addressed through further research. The discussion is guided by two of the
research questions:
1. How do some disabled students experience exclusion from and within school?
2. Why do some disabled students experience exclusion from and within school?
The third research question will be addressed in chapter seven.

The school exclusion of disabled students is a complex phenomenon, particularly with


regard to the key questions that formed the focus of this study: First, how are some
disabled students being excluded from and within school? Second, why are some
disabled students being excluded from and within school? These two questions are
interrelated and therefore, it is difficult to discuss one without discussing some
implications of the other. The complexity inherent in exclusion is in fact, played out
through this chapter. Despite this, the initial discussion will be organised separately
around the two key questions, although there will be instances where the discussion
will, from necessity, focus on both aspects of exclusion.

6.2 How are Disabled Students Being Excluded?


The parents of disabled students reported a range of factors that acted to exclude their
children from being present, participating and learning at school. Major findings are that
disabled students were being excluded by:

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Being denied enrolment and/or full-time attendance at school
Being denied access to, and participation within the curriculum
Being bullied
Inappropriate beliefs and practices in relation to funding
A lack of caring, valuing and responsibility by school staff
A lack of teacher knowledge and understanding
Poor relationships between parents and school staff
Inappropriate beliefs and practices in relation to teacher aides

Each of these factors will be discussed separately in relation to the existing literature,
and in relation to issues that could be addressed through future research.

6.2.1 Enrolment and Full-time Attendance at School


While inclusion should not be narrowed to an enrolment and resources focus (Slee,
2001a), presence at school is obviously a critical prerequisite for inclusive education.
This is also one of the most basic of educational rights afforded students in New
Zealand their right to attend their local neighbourhood school without prejudice. This
is enshrined in the 1989 Education Act which states that people who have special
educational needs have the same right to enrol and receive education at a state school as
people who are not disabled. This is also supported by the 1993 Human Rights Act.
Section 57 states it is illegal for schools to deny enrolment to a student on the basis of a
disability or to treat students who are disabled less favourably than students who are not
disabled.

The experiences of the parents of disabled students in this study indicates that some
schools are breaking the law in regard to childrens legal rights to enrol and attend
school. For example, while only one of the 12 parents interviewed in the first phase of
this study reported their child being denied outright, enrolment at their local school,
four parents reported only partial enrolment was allowed. Likewise in the parent
questionnaire, 15 parents reported that their child had experienced issues involving less
favourable enrolment and attendance at school. This included being phoned to come
and take their child home from school during school hours, children only being
permitted to attend school for part of the day, and parents being told to keep their child

176
at home if there was no teacher aide cover at school. In many instances, parents
reported that it was the school principal who was giving these messages and setting
these limitations.

Bourke et al. (2000) reported that school principals are in a unique position to act as
gatekeepers for the enrolment of students at their school, and findings from this study
support this notion. For example, as well as parents reporting the role of the school
principal in denying and restricting their childs enrolment and attendance at school,
some principals reported these practices themselves. Principal respondents reported
feeling justified in: denying enrolment to disabled students; restricting the attendance
hours of disabled students; sending disabled students home during school hours; and
advising parents their child would be better educated at other schools. It appears
therefore, that principals hold an important key to the enrolment and attendance of
disabled students at school.

One of the key factors influencing this is likely to be principals attitudes towards
inclusive education. This is not only evidenced in the results of this study, but also by
previous research. For example in this study, obvious differences were evident between
the reported practices of principals in the x and y groups. No principals in the x group
described not permitting disabled students to access mainstream activities, only
allowing part time participation at school, or sending disabled students home during
school hours. However all principals from the y group mentioned at least one of these
practices. Similarly, four principals from the x group spoke of their beliefs in the rights
of disabled students to attend their local neighbourhood school whereas only one
principal from the y group indicated this belief. Praisner (2003) found that principals
with positive attitudes towards inclusive education are more likely to place disabled
students in inclusive settings. Whereas principals with negative attitudes towards
inclusive education are more likely to include disabled students in more restricted
environments. Praisner also found that a school principals attitude was affected by past
positive or negative experiences with disabled students.

Results from this study also suggest that some school principals do not believe that
regular schools should be places that meet the educational and social needs of all
students. Over one quarter of principal questionnaire respondents believed that there

177
were some students whose needs could not be met in their school. Similarly, nearly 30%
of respondents to the principal questionnaire disagreed with the statement that schools
should meet the needs of all students. It appears likely that if school principals do not
have positive attitudes towards inclusive education and a belief in the rights of disabled
students to enrol and attend regular schools without restriction, inclusive education is
not likely to be advanced (Ainscow, 1999; Hanson et al., 2001). This is not only
because, as Bourke et al. (2001) report, they are in a unique position as gatekeepers, but
also because they are in a unique position to created a shared vision for the school
community towards an inclusive school (Ainscow, 1999).

A human rights perspective is also important to any discussion around access and
participation to education (and a lack or denial of it). The New Zealand Human Rights
Commission (2004) have developed a set of four broad standards which can be used to
measure New Zealands achievement in relation to students rights to education. Two
standards particularly relevant to this discussion are:
Availability to ensure education is available for all in accordance with
human rights standards;
Accessibility to ensure access to available education for all in accordance
with human rights standards (Human Rights Commission, 2004, pp. 6869).

The New Zealand Human Rights Commission (2004) report that while in New Zealand,
there is a range of education opportunities available to children, there are systemic
disparities, including participation rates for disabled people. Results from this study
support these findings. For the children in this study, education was not always readily
available or accessible. Some parents reported less than full participation for their
children and systems that were not readily available or accessible to them.

6.2.2 Curriculum Access and Participation


The importance of a flexible, curriculum that is accessible to all is often reported in the
literature as an important enabler of inclusive education. UNESCO (2005, p. 25) stress
that accessible and flexible curricula can serve as the key to creating inclusive
schools. Similarly the Salamanca World Conference on Special Needs Education
(1994) emphasised the importance of curriculum adaptation stating that curricula should

178
be adapted to childrens needs, not the other way round; and that children should
receive any extra support in the context of the regular curriculum, not a different
curriculum. Here the term curricula refers not just to what is taught in schools, but
also how students are taught and assessed. The curriculum is at the core of schooling
(Pugach & Warger, 1996).

While the practice of curriculum adaptation is accepted as a vital tool in creating


inclusive education environments, parents in this study reported that their children were
being excluded by being denied access to learning opportunities. This happened through
a lack of accommodation and adaptation to the curriculum, and a lack of student
assessment.

In order to encourage teachers to think more about curriculum issues in relation to the
inclusion and exclusion of disabled students, Carroll-Lind, Bevan-Brown, and Kearney
(2007) suggest that Ministry of Education curriculum documents need to be very clear
about the need for curriculum adaptation and also very clear that it is the teachers role
to ensure that the curriculum is accessible to all students. In this present study, all
principal questionnaire respondents reported that the teachers at their school made
curriculum adaptations to a greater or lesser extent. Two of the four interviewed
teachers mentioned the importance of adapting the curriculum. This indicates that the
practice of curriculum adaptation is something that principals and teachers understand
the importance of. However, lack of adaptation was identified by 40% of parent
questionnaire respondents as a barrier to their childs presence, participation and
learning at school. This discrepancy suggests that curriculum adaptation may at best be
under utilised or misunderstood, and at worst, paid lip service to.

The literature reports similar findings where exclusion comes about through
inappropriate curriculum, or lack of access to the curriculum. In interviews with
disabled students, Pivik, McComas, and LaFlamme (2002) found that these students
reported being given inappropriate alternative work when the teacher was too busy to
adapt the work that the rest of the class was doing. The students also reported being
excluded from certain classes without good reasons, and that they were only able to
observe in some curriculum areas rather than participate. Similarly, in a study of
physically disabled students in Ireland, Shevlin, Kenny, and McNeela (2002), found

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that the majority of students interviewed had often experienced exclusion from full
curricular access. This included teachers who excluded students in class question times;
who had lower expectations of their work and achievement than for non-disabled
students; who provided inadequate feedback on their work; and who placed them in
inappropriate level groups within the classroom.

Parents in this present study also reported forms of physical segregation as a factor
excluding their child from and within school. Clark, Dyson, Millward, and Robson
(1999a) report similar practices. In their study disabled students were placed in their
own physical classroom, or in a separate building from other students. They reported
that this often happened when students were ability grouped and that this segregated
them from their peers almost as effectively as if they were placed in a separate
institution (p. 164). While parents in this study did not specifically mention ability
grouping, some reported that their children were physically segregated to do their own
work possibly because of a belief by some teachers that if they are not able to do the
work the other students are doing, they could not be part of the mainstream class. For
example parents in the first phase of this research reported teachers focussing only on
the things their children could not do, and not wanting to find out about their children
and what they could do. As Shevlin et al. (2002) conclude, disabled students access to
the curriculum is heavily reliant on the appropriate expectations of their teachers. Other
reasons for this may be associated with the use of the teacher aide to support disabled
students, and a belief by some teachers in this study that some disabled students
interfered with the learning of non-disabled students.

Withdrawing students to focus on different work, in situations away from their peers not
only excludes students from access to the social learning that occurs in the classroom,
but from the peer group where friendships are often formed. In a study by Thomas,
Walker, and Webb (1998) disabled students reported not wanting to be withdrawn from
the classroom for a number of reasons. This included the added pressure of one-on-one
teaching, the embarrassment of having their differences emphasised, and wanting to
stay in the classroom to be in company of their peers. However, it should be noted that
some studies report opposite findings. For example Norwich and Kelly (2004) in a
study of 101 disabled students in both mainstream and special settings found that
mainstream students preferred learning support in withdrawal settings.

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While this present study did not gather data from the students themselves, it may be
surmised that the students, whose experiences were reported on by their parents, may
have felt similar reactions to those involved in the Thomas et al. (1998) study.

Some parents in this study spoke of their children being denied access to extra
curricular activities such as trips and swimming, particularly if there was no teacher
aide available to ensure safety. Shevlin et al. (2001) reported similar experiences of
disabled students where some were left to watch physical education rather than
participate, and were not permitted to go on school trips. The students in Shevlins
study reported that when they were segregated in this way, they felt excluded and even
more aware of their differences. Pivik, McComas, and LaFlamme (2002) reported
disabled students being assigned as the teachers helper in physical education rather
than participating with their peers.

6.2.3 Bullying
Much has been written on the general theme of student-to-student bullying at school
(e.g., Besag, 1989; Olweus, 1993; Sullivan, 2000) and principals and teachers seem to
be aware of the nature and extent of this. Less has been written about the bullying of
disabled students. However, some studies do show that disabled children can be twice
as likely as their peers to be the victims of bullying (MacArthur et al., 2007; National
Childrens Bureau, 2007; New Zealand Human Rights Commission, 2004). Norwich
and Kelly (2004) found what they described as high levels of bullying experienced by
disabled students in their study. Approximately half of the 101 students in their study
reported that the bullying they experienced was related to their learning difficulties.
These students were from both special schools and mainstream schools. Special school
students reported more bullying than mainstream pupils but this was from people
outside of their special school. There is also some evidence in the literature that
bullying leads to physical exclusion from school (MacArthur & Gaffney, 2001).

Results from this study identified student-to-student bullying and teacher-to-student


bullying as factors that excluded disabled children from school. Nearly 40% of parents
in the questionnaire identified bullying as one of the 10 most excluding influences, and
nine of the 12 parents interviewed spoke of bullying issues acting to exclude their child.

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As well as student-to-student bullying, nearly 30% of parent questionnaire respondents,
and 33% of interviewed parents identified some form of teacher bullying or harassment
as a force of exclusion for their children. Teacher bullying included humiliation,
intimidation, shouting, teachers encouraging other students to bully the child and in one
case, a teacher physically hurting a child.

School principals also reported bullying. All principals in both the questionnaire and
interview reported that student-to-student bullying occurred in their school.
Approximately 50% of school principals who completed the questionnaire stated that
teacher-to-student bullying occurred in their school.

While there are few studies looking at the phenomenon of bullying in relation to
disabled students, there are even fewer studies investigating the nature and extent of
teacher-to-student bullying. It is a phenomenon that has long been realised, but very
rarely reported (Twemlow, Fonagy, Sacco, & Brethour, 2006). McEvoy (2005)
describes teacher bullying as having similar characteristics to student bullying. It is an
abuse of power that tends to be on-going, and displayed in a public manner. It is a
deliberate act and a form of humiliation likely to distress the victim. Acts resembling
this description were reported by parents in this study. Both disabled students, and the
siblings of disabled students were humiliated and intimidated by teachers, and parents
reported that teachers encouraged other students to bully the victim.

Although the effects of student-to-student bullying on the victim are well known and
reported (e.g. Olweus, 2001), little has been written in relation to the specific effects on
victims of teacher bullying. It could be surmised that they are similar. For example, the
literature reports that when a student bullies another person, observers can reinforce and
model the bullying behaviour (OConnell, Pepler, & Craig, 1999). This may also be the
case in relation to teacher-to-student bullying and it could be argued that student bullies
may be provided with even more licence to reinforce and model the bullying behaviour
because teachers are important role models for students. Students may feel that if it is
acceptable for a teacher to bully a student, it is acceptable for them to do so as well.
Similarly, victims of student-to-student bullying are often reported as taking on board
messages about their lack of worth (Olweus, 2001). Again, it may also be surmised that
when a student is a victim of teacher bullying, these messages are even stronger. It may

182
be one thing for a student to believe that one or more of their peers do not like or value
them, but when a teacher who is charged with caring for all students victimises a
student, students may feel extremely devalued. Lack of research evidence in this area
means that these hypotheses need to be tested. Therefore, further research is needed in
this very important area. However, in the examples quoted in this study, clear messages
would have been given to students that the victims of teacher bullying are not as valued
or accepted by that teacher as students who are not victimised. Not only would this
exclude the disabled student from the class group, but also encourage in non-disabled
peers, a belief that disabled people are less worthy and less valuable than non-disabled.

Feelings of powerlessness may also come into play, for both parents and students.
Because teachers hold positions of power and responsibility, victims and their parents
may feel that there is nothing they can do to improve or stop the bullying behaviour.
This was the case for the students in McEvoys (2005) study. McEvoy found that when
students were asked if they thought teachers who bullied students could do so without
getting into trouble, 77% said yes. When they were asked if there was ever anything
done to officially reprimand these teachers, 80% said no.

Powerlessness may also be an issue for teachers. For one parent in this study, the
acceptance of teacher bullying by other staff at the school was difficult to understand.
Twemlow et al. (2006), found that non-bully teachers who observe bullying by their
colleagues do not report or step in, due to fear of retaliation from unions, colleagues or
because of conflicting loyalties. This would be an area worthy of future research in New
Zealand.

It is unknown whether the teacher bullying reported in this study was something that
was only experienced by disabled students; it may be something that was experienced
by non-disabled students as well. The phenomenon of teacher-to-student bullying in
general is one that requires further research in New Zealand.

6.2.4 Beliefs and Practices in Relation to Funding


The theme of funding is something that is often associated with inclusive education. It
is a complex issue, involving rights and responsibilities as well as fiscal and social

183
politics. For many of the parents in this study, issues around funding were identified as
an exclusionary pressure. Sixty percent of parents in the questionnaire identified lack of
funding as one of the 10 barriers that contributed to the exclusion of their child.
However, while seven out of the 12 interviewed parents identified funding as an issue
for their child, only one of these parents identified lack of funding as the issue. The
difficulties that were experienced were around issues such as funding being denied (i.e.,
a belief by parents that the government did have the money, it was just being denied to
the students), funding being inappropriately used by the school, and parents feeling
obligated or being asked to provide funding to support their child at school.

An important finding is that five of the twelve parents interviewed reported providing
funding to the school for teacher aide hours.27 This is contrary to New Zealand
legislation, which states that education is to be free from the age of five until the age of
19. This finding is important because it points to the inequity of an education system
where some parents are asked to, or feel a need to, provide funding in order for their
children to have their needs met at school.

There is little published empirical evidence reporting instances where parents have been
asked to financially support their childs education in publicly funded schools.
Therefore this is an area of research that is urgently needed. There is however, some
recently published literature reporting anecdotal evidence of this practice. A New
Zealand organisation called Quality Public Education Coalition (QPEC) reported a case
where a disabled childs parents were asked to top up the childs teacher aide funding
allocation. QPEC report that this is now a common occurrence and that many parents
are now paying $100 to $200 per week or more to do so (QPEC, 2007).

In the present study, some parents reported that their childs school was diverting their
teacher aide funding to other purposes, or using this funding inappropriately. In one
instance it was being used to employ a teacher aide for another section of the school,
and in another not all allocated funding was being used by the school. This may point to
a lack of accountability systems. This is another area in need of further research as little
has been published on accountability issues specific to funding and inclusive education.

27
Issues associated with teacher aides will be discussed in section 6.2.8.

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This study also uncovered principals lack of familiarity with the funding framework.
Just over 42% of principals who completed the questionnaire indicated that that they
were only a little familiar with the funding framework. Principal knowledge of available
funding and funding entitlements would appear to be critical to ensuring that disabled
students are accessing the funding that is available and that they are entitled to. This
requires further research in order to see if a lack of principal knowledge regarding
funding entitlements is reducing the likelihood that disabled students receive the
financial support that is available to them and that the funding is used in appropriate
ways. Also, research investigating why school principals are not familiar with the
funding framework would also be useful.

In this study, the term lack of funding was often cited by parents, teachers and
principals. How parents, teachers and principals come to this understanding is unknown.
For parents, these messages may come first hand from their observations in schools, or
they may come by way of the information given to them by their childs school. Again,
research is needed to elucidate this.

Data from school principals, teachers and teacher aides also show a belief that funding
is an important enabler of inclusive education and further discussed in section 6.3.3.

6.2.5 Valuing, Caring and Being Responsible for Disabled Students


It could be argued that many of the factors identified in this study as acting to exclude
disabled students are indicative of a lack of caring, valuing and responsibility on the
part of school staff. However, parents identified some specific issues in this respect that
warrant separate reporting. For example, when parents were asked in the questionnaire
to identify ten barriers to inclusion that their child had experienced, 23% of respondents
identified that their child was not wanted by the school, 21% that they were treated
unfairly, 21% that their child was not valued by the school and 19% identified a lack of
caring by school staff. Similarly, seven out of the 12 parents interviewed identified
factors associated with this theme. For example five parents said that the classroom
teacher did not want their child. The critical role of the teacher in setting up and
maintaining a caring environment is well documented (e.g., Alton-Lee, 2003;

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Education Queensland, 2001), however, for some parents and their children, this was
not something they experienced.

Parents reported receiving the message that their child was not as worthy or valued as
other children in many ways. One parent was told it was acceptable for her child to be at
their school while he was in the junior classes, but he would not be wanted in the senior
school. Lorenz (1998) reported similar findings and also found that as disabled children
progress through the school system, the less likely it is that teachers take responsibility
for them, instead handing over that responsibility to teacher aides. This is consistent
with other findings of this study where teachers and principals report that inclusive
education is only workable, when the disabled student is not too different from the
other students. If teachers do not perceive disabled students to be worthy and if they
do not value them, it is unlikely that these students will be included.

Another way parents received the message that their child was not valued was when
school principals gave class teachers a choice whether or not to include their child in the
class. As some parents pointed out, this would not happen for non-disabled children.
This is also closely tied to the way that teachers saw their roles and responsibilities.
Some parents in this study identified that teachers did not see disabled children as their
responsibility. When school principals give class teachers a choice whether to have a
disabled student in their class, they give teachers the message that disabled students are
not part of their teaching duties. The belief that mainstream class teachers are not as
responsible for disabled students as non-disabled students was also reflected in
comments made by the teachers in phase three of this study. In their comments, teachers
demonstrated their belief that they were not responsible for disabled students, and that
they had a choice whether or not they allowed a disabled students in their class. Also,
teacher aides in this school reported that when choosing mainstream classes for disabled
children to work in, only those that had teachers who were interested were considered.
The practice of allowing teachers to choose whether particular students are in their class
or not is a significant factor in the exclusion of disabled students. Not only does it give
teachers the message that disabled students are not part of their duties, it also devalues
disabled students as people.

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Inclusive education requires teachers to take responsibility for all students. This notion
is well reported in the literature. The Queensland School Reform Longitudinal Study
(Education Queensland, 2001) found that teachers who were not engaged in productive
pedagogy (that is a pedagogy that successfully meets the needs of all students) were less
likely to hold the belief that they were responsible for all students in their class than
those teachers who were involved in productive pedagogy. Similarly, Carrington and
Elkins (2005) found that disabled students may not have their needs met in regular
classrooms if the classroom teacher does not believe that they are responsible for these
children. Ainscow (1999) reported similar findings and argued that barriers to inclusion
are erected when teachers believe that there are some children who they cannot be
expected to teach. It should also be noted that some research has shown that teachers
who do not believe they are responsible for disabled students are likely to hand over
responsibility for them to teacher aides (Ainscow, 1999; MacArthur et al., 2005).

Some principals also indicated a belief that teachers have an obligation to their non-
disabled students first and foremost. Only 28% of principal questionnaire respondents
strongly disagreed with the statement that teachers have an obligation to their non-
disabled students first and foremost. Also, only approximately 38% of respondents
thought that regular schools should meet the needs of all students. Three of the five
principals in the y group believed that classroom teachers are not responsible for
disabled students. Likewise, all of the principals in the y group believed there were two
distinct groups of students, those who were disabled and those who were not. Those
who were not disabled appeared to have more rights to education than those who were
disabled. For example some principals spoke of disabled students interfering with the
learning of other students. Disabled students were never referred to as belonging to this
group of other students whose learning may be interfered with. Similarly, one
principal saw the needs of the classroom operation as more important than the needs of
the disabled students, and one principal described disabled students as coming to
assembly to be with our students. Corbett and Slee (2000) found that when teachers
started from the premise that disabled students are their students, an inclusive
education was more likely to ensue. In contrast, when teachers do not see disabled
students as their students, an exclusive education is more likely to ensue.

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This notion of other was also evident in the discussions in phase three of this study.
Teacher three and four both spoke of having to consider the other students in the class,
giving a clear message that the disabled student was not seen as part of this group.
Teacher two also demonstrated this attitude when explaining that it was difficult enough
to cope with her own class without having extra [disabled] students. As Slee (2001a)
points out, the term other is often used to imply who is in and who is out, who is an
insider (and therefore belongs) and who is an outsider (and therefore does not belong).
Ballard (1999) sees this concept as creating the discrimination of them and us, which
forms the basis for exclusion.

When school principals were asked if they agreed with the statement that some students
hold more status in the school than others, just over 80% of principals either strongly
disagreed or disagreed with this statement, whereas just over 15% agreed or strongly
agreed. These results need to be interpreted with caution for while 15% of principals
indicated that some students did hold more status in their school then others, this does
not mean that they agree with this state of affairs.

It would appear therefore, that if school principals and teachers do not believe they are
responsible for all students (including disabled students), and believe that some students
have more rights over others, these students are likely to be excluded, and inclusive
education is unlikely to be realised.

6.2.6 Teacher Knowledge and Understanding


A lack of teacher knowledge and understanding was a major factor identified by parents
excluding their children from and within school. For example, when parents were asked
in the questionnaire to identify ten barriers to inclusion that their child had experienced,
the most frequently identified barrier was the teacher not being knowledgeable about
their child. Similarly, 41% of parent respondents identified this as the most powerful
barrier experienced. When parents were asked in the questionnaire to expand on this
theme, they identified issues such as teachers not recognising the needs of their child,
and teachers who only saw difficulties as residing within the child.

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All principals who completed the questionnaire believed that successful inclusive
education required knowledgeable and skilful teachers, with 65% believing this to be a
vital prerequisite. However, when asked to provide a level of agreement with the
statement to facilitate inclusion, we focus on increasing the capacity and capability of
teachers, over 21% disagreed and 25% were unsure. This discrepancy indicates some
confusion or ambivalence regarding the important role played by competent teachers
with regards to inclusive education. It may also indicate that while principals were
aware that knowledgeable and skilful teachers are important to the success of inclusive
education, they were not sufficiently committed to inclusive education to follow this up
in a meaningful way.

Lack of teacher knowledge as a barrier to inclusive education is well reported in the


literature. In a study that involved interviewing 22 parents of disabled children, Law
(1997) found that parents reported a lack of knowledge on the part of teachers as a
major barrier to their childrens participation at school. Many studies highlighting lack
of knowledge as a barrier are not specific in their identification of what knowledge is
lacking. For those that do specify, there are two general types of knowledge that are
considered. First is the technical knowledge associated with strategies and procedures
thought necessary for meeting the needs of disabled students (e.g., Marshall, Ralph, &
Palmer, 2002). The second is a lack of knowledge and understanding around more
general aspects of inclusive education, such as knowledge regarding the barriers and
enablers of inclusive education (e.g., Booth, 2000b).

The majority of parents in this study who reported lack of teacher knowledge and
understanding as a barrier to their childs presence and participation at school did not
identify lack of technical knowledge around teaching skills and strategies. Rather the
lack of knowledge and understanding was associated with factors specific to the child,
such as the specific needs and capabilities of the child. Similarly, parents believed that a
lack of knowledge about inclusion, and the role of the teacher aide was also acting to
exclude their children.

One of the issues associated with teacher knowledge and understanding identified by
parents in this study was low teacher expectations of their students. This phenomenon is
well reported in the literature, particularly in relation to disabled students. In a study by

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Pivik, McComas, and LaFlamme (2002), both disabled students themselves and their
parents identified low teacher expectations as a limitation to their success at school.
Likewise, Shevlin, Kenny, and McNeela (2002) found that teachers of physically
disabled students expected less of them. In Shevlin et al.s study, students described
struggling to be placed in classrooms appropriate to their ability level. Participants in
this study also reported that their teachers accepted work of a lower standard, and gave
inadequate feedback. Similarly a study by Priestley and Rabiee (2002) reported low
teacher expectations based on perceived severity of impairment, and a Norwegian study
reported that teachers of a highly capable disabled student did not expect her to attain
very much (Nes, 1999). When teachers hold low expectations for students, self-
fulfilling prophecies usually occur (Bevan-Brown, 2006; Tauber, 1997). Having low
expectations of disabled students, as reported this study, and in the literature, excludes
students from participating in appropriate learning experiences.

Another area where parents identified a lack of knowledge and understanding relates to
the concept of inclusive education. Through the questionnaire, most school principals
reported familiarity with the concept of inclusive education as well as the principles and
practices known to meet the needs of students who experience difficulties with learning
and behaviour. Most interviewed principals also believed that inclusive education was
about all children being welcomed and included at their school, however some placed
caveats on this (for example if the students were not too disabled). For other principals,
inclusive education meant students being accepted and valued at special schools. All but
two principals thought that there were some instances when it was not possible to have
disabled students at school, and that this was acceptable. Therefore, while all principals
were able to speak the language of inclusive education by describing it, for some, their
interpretation of what that meant was based on a belief that it only applied to some
students.

Similar findings were found amongst the teachers and teacher aides in this study. All
four teachers interviewed thought the idea of inclusive education was not for all
children, but only for children that were able to be in the mainstream, or who were not
too disabled or only if the activities were appropriate. They also displayed an
understanding of inclusive education that focused on the deficits or differences of the
student. None of the four teachers mentioned inclusive education as being about

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identifying and breaking down contextual barriers to the presence and participation of
disabled students at school. The five teacher aides interpreted inclusive education
around issues of resources and services.

If school principals and teachers do not have a good knowledge and understanding of
inclusive education and the complexities associated with it, achieving inclusive schools
would seem improbable. UNESCO (2005) has reported that teacher misconceptions
about inclusive education can also act as barriers to inclusive education. Some of these
beliefs are that inclusion (1) is a theoretical construct, (2) is not a practical idea (3) is
costly (4) requires capacities and special skills in teachers which are difficult to develop
and (5) will only come about when society changes to be more inclusive. Many of these
beliefs were evident in the participants in this study.

In addition to an understanding of inclusive education, knowledge of policy, legislation


and funding frameworks is also important. Policy, legislation and funding frameworks
were not well known to the principals in this study. As knowledge has been shown to be
an important enabler to inclusive education, raising the awareness of school principals
to important policies and legislation that support inclusive education, may reduce the
exclusion experienced by disabled students.

6.2.7 Relationships Between Parents and the School


Effective relationships between schools and parents are often reported as a key
facilitator of inclusive education (e.g., Hilton, 2006). In this study, parents reported poor
home-school relationships as an excluding force. This included parents advice not
being listened to, a lack of information sharing, parents not being included in normal
parents events, and teachers and principals only highlighting to parents the deficits of
their child. In particular, poor communication was a barrier identified by most of the
interviewed parents. By far the most common issue was a perception by parents that
they were not listened to and that their opinions and knowledge were not respected.

Similar findings are reported in the literature, particularly around communication. For
example, in Laws (1997) study, 22 parents of disabled children reported lack of
information and feelings of helplessness as major barriers to their childrens

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participation at school. This included a lack of parental consultation and programme
information. Similar results were reported by Hanson et al. (2001). They also found that
families abilities to be heard was affected by their access to information and their own
comfort and ability to advocate. They reported that parents unfamiliar with the culture
of schools, and the laws of the country governing education were likely to be left out of
the decision making process. Similar findings were reported by Lorenz (1998).

The findings of this present study, and those reported in the literature suggest that
improving communication between parents and schools would help to reduce the
exclusion of disabled students from and within schools. Improvements could include
raising the level of information sharing between parents and schools; introducing
systems of consultation based on equality and mutual respect; and schools recognising
the specific and important knowledge that parents have about their children.

As well as issues associated with communication, parents reported other behaviours


towards them that were inappropriate. For example being criticised by principals and/or
teachers, being excluded from parent events and being threatened that section 9 (1) of
the 1989 Education Act28 would be used against their children. In relation to
inappropriate behaviour towards parents, no principals, teachers, or teacher aides
described the behaviour that was reported by parents. Principals were also asked if
parents of disabled students in their school were given the same rights and respect as
that given to parents of non-disabled students. Only one respondent was unsure, while
44% agreed that they were given the same rights, and 54% strongly agreed that they
were given the same rights. These findings highlight the tensions between parents
perceptions of acceptable behaviour and school principals understanding of this issue. It
may also be the case that school principals do not recognise the issues for parents of
disabled students in relation to effective communication and other relationship issues.
This is an area that is not well reported in the literature and is one that requires further
research.

28
Where parents may be directed by the state to enrol their child in a special facility.

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6.2.8 Beliefs and Practices in Relation to Teacher Aides
In this study, parents reported issues associated with the use of teacher aides as factors
that excluded their children from being present and participating at school. Some of
these have been identified in previous sections of this chapter, however, because of the
pervasive nature of this theme, it is also discussed separately in this section.

The use of paraprofessionals to support disabled students is a growing phenomenon


(Giangreco, Edelman, & Broer, 2001). However as Giangreco et al. (2001) report, it is
one of the least studied but potentially most significant aspects of special education over
the past 10 years. When comparing their extensive review of the literature about
paraprofessionals work with disabled students with the earlier research of Jones and
Bender (1993), Giangreco et al. (2001) report that little has changed in regards to
evidence of paraprofessionals improving outcomes for disabled students.

Parents in this study identified a lack of teacher aide time as a barrier to their childs
presence and participation at school. Just over half of all parents who responded to the
phase one questionnaire identified this as one of the ten most common barriers to their
childs presence and participation at school and 11% identified it as the most common
barrier.

It is unclear what information parents used to make the judgement that there were
insufficient teacher aide hours; however, it is likely that one way parents received this
message was from schools. For example, parents reported being told that their child
could only be at school when there was teacher aide support; that children could enrol
in the school if they had access to a teacher aide; and that they could only be at school
for the time that they had access to a teacher aide.

Principals, teachers and teacher aides all thought the provision of teacher aides was
important and necessary for inclusive education. An important finding of this study is
that school principals, teachers and some parents held unquestioned beliefs that a lack
of teacher aide time equated with lack of childrens rights to be present and participate
at school.

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Another important finding is the practice of handing over responsibility for disabled
students to teacher aides. Some parents reported that their child was left to do nothing if
the teacher aide was not present and that the teacher aide, not the teacher, was expected
to teach their child. Nearly 13% of principals were unsure, or did not agree that class
teachers should be responsible for all students. Teacher aides comments also showed a
belief that class teachers were not responsible for disabled students.

Abdicating responsibility for disabled students to teacher aides is a practice reported in


the literature. For example Giangreco, Edelman, and Broer (2001) and Broer, Doyle,
and Giangreco (2005) both report the practice of handing over primary responsibility
for disabled students to paraprofessionals. Ainscow, Farrell, and Tweddle, (2005) report
that unqualified paraprofessionals are often asked to do work with students with
complex needs. However, they also report that working with students with high and
complex needs requires skilled and qualified teachers and other professionals.
Giangreco et al. (2001), believe that when disabled students are assigned to the least
powerful and qualified staff, this devalues their status in the eyes of the disabled student
themselves, in the eyes of their peers, and in the eyes of teachers.

Parents in this present study reported that if teacher aides were used inappropriately, it
could hinder disabled students forming friendships with their peers. Three of the five
principals interviewed from the x group were aware that teacher aides can get too close
to students and interfere with their socialisation however, only one principal in the y
group mentioned this. This difference between the beliefs and practices of principals in
the x and y groups may indicate that this point of difference is an important factor in the
inclusion and exclusion of disabled students. This is supported in the literature (e.g.,
Ainscow et al., 2005; Thomas, Walker, & Webb, 1998). Ainscow et al. (2005), claim
assigning teacher aides to work with disabled students is a new form of segregation.
Literature often reports the importance of all students forming social skills and social
links through interactions with their peers. In order to develop relationships with other
members of their peer group, disabled students need to have regular opportunities to
play and interact with them without close adult supervision (Lorenz, 1998). However,
when individual adult support extends beyond the classroom, it can interfere with the
formation of friendships as well as preventing the child from becoming an independent
member of the school community (Lorenz, 1998).

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However, even though literature reports the detrimental effects of inappropriate use of
adult supports, it would be too simple to suggest that adult supports are not needed. No
parents in this present study suggested that this was the case, or that this was something
that they wanted. It is well accepted that inclusive education requires a range of adults
(professionals and paraprofessionals) to work collaboratively to increase the presence
and participation of disabled students. However, it appears that adult supports need to
be used in such a way that over-reliance is not developed; peer contact and friendships
are not discouraged; the status of disabled students is not devalued; and learned
helplessness is not developed. This will require further research particularly if the use of
teacher aides to support inclusive education is a practice that continues to grow.

6.3 Why are Disabled Students Being Excluded?


Section 6.2 of this chapter has addressed the question: how are disabled students being
excluded from and within school? This study also sought to answer the question, why
are disabled students being excluded from and within school? This section elaborates on
the why question.

The literature reports that the reasons why disabled students experience exclusion from
and within school are extremely complex (Slee & Allan, 2005). This complexity is due
to a number of factors. First, many forces that are working against the inclusion of
disabled students are hidden. They are unspoken and based on values and attitudes that
are difficult to uncover. Second, even when these forces are not hidden, they may be
beliefs and practices that are so much part of the culture of a person or school, that they
are unquestioned and accepted as natural and normal practices. Added to this
complexity is that the reasons disabled students are being excluded, can at times only be
implied or inferred from certain actions. For all these reasons, to uncover from this
study, the reasons why disabled students are experiencing exclusion from and within
schools will require the presentation of propositions with supporting links to the data
from this study and from the published literature. This is in keeping with grounded
theory methodology where the theory resulting from the accumulated data around a
phenomenon can be reported as a set of propositions (Dey, 1999). Finally, it should be
noted that there are complex relationships between all four propositions presented here,
with none acting in isolation from the other.

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6.3.1 Proposition One: Disabled Students are Experiencing Exclusion Because
they are Seen as Less Entitled to Human Rights than Non-Disabled Students.
Data from this study showed that some teachers, principals, and other school staff
believe disabled students have fewer rights (both human and legislative rights) and
entitlements to mainstream education than non-disabled students. In relation to
legislative rights, the 1989 Education Act guarantees students the right to enrol in their
local neighbourhood school without prejudice. Section 8 of this Act states that people
who have special educational needs have the same right to enrol and receive education
at a state school as people who are not disabled. Similarly, the 1993 Human Rights Act
protects the rights of students who are disabled. Section 57 of this act makes it illegal
for schools to deny enrolment to a student on the basis of a disability or to treat students
who are disabled less favourably than students who are not disabled.

International human rights declarations are also relevant to the results of this study. The
Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) states that everyone has the right to
education, and that education shall be directed to the full development of human
personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental
freedoms (Article 26). New Zealand is also signatory to The United Nations Convention
on the Rights of the Child (UNCROC) (1989) which states that all children have a right
to receive education without discrimination on any grounds. While every article in the
UNCROC pertains to disabled children, Article 23 specifically states that: disabled
children should enjoy a full and decent life, in conditions which ensure dignity, promote
self-reliance and facilitate the childs active participation in the community
(UNCROC, Article 23).

In 2007, New Zealand signed the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
(UNCRPD). This Convention has 50 articles many of which have relevance to inclusion
and exclusion in education in a general way. However, Article 24 is specifically related
to education. This article sets out disabled persons rights to an inclusive education
(Article 24, 1) without discrimination and on the basis of equal opportunity. It states
that governments shall ensure that persons with disabilities are not excluded from the
general education system on the basis of their disability and that they can access an
inclusive quality and free education on equal basis with others. The Convention also

196
highlights the need for reasonable accommodation, support and environments that
maximise disabled persons academic and social development, consistent with the goal
of full inclusion (Article 24, 2e)

Data from this study show that disabled students were being denied these legislative and
human rights. This included their rights to enrol in their local neighbourhood and to
receive the same education entitlements as those students who are not disabled. Parents
reported incidents where their children were treated less favourably than students who
were not disabled, for example, parents being asked to pay for their childs education,
and being told their child could only be at school for part of the school day or that their
education entitlement was reliant on teacher aide support. Other factors include being
denied access to the curriculum and the life of the school, and being subjected to
bullying, sometimes by the teachers.

The belief that disabled students have less rights to access regular education than non
disabled students is well reported in the literature (e.g., New Zealand Human Rights
Commission, 2004; Lansdown, 2001; MacArthur, Sharp, Kelly, & Gaffney, 2007). The
New Zealand Human Rights Commission report that many of the disability-related
complaints to the Human Rights Commission are related to disabled students being
denied their rights to education. Complaints were based on the difficulties that parents
and students experienced with the attitudes and behaviour of staff and students who
reportedly lacked understanding of the needs of disabled students and were patronising
or openly discriminatory. Also reported was a lack of specialist services and equipment
and lack of funding for them. Parents indicated a need for teachers to be trained to work
with people with a range of disabilities (New Zealand Human Rights Commission,
2004).

Campbell (2001) also believes that education is a field where the rights of the disabled
are obviously denied and compromised. She believes that this is because there is a
greater emphasis placed on parents rights. This study did not gather any evidence to
support or refute this claim, however, results do show that the rights of non-disabled
students are given precedence over the rights of disabled children. This was particularly
evident in comments from some principals, and teachers who indicated that disabled

197
students had a right to an inclusive education only if it did not interfere with the rights
of non-disabled students.

One of the advantages of a human rights approach to inclusive education is that few, if
any people would argue against it. However, while a human rights approach may seem
useful in this regard, it is not a complete panacea for exclusion. Armstrong, Armstrong,
and Barton (2000) believe that this is for a number of reasons. First because human
rights are a rather abstract principle, they are limited in the impact they can have.
Second, while human rights may be useful in uncovering forces of exclusion, they offer
no practical strategies to bring about change. Third, a human rights approach to
inclusive education may reflect disabled students rights as a given rather than a
continuous struggle between contending social forces (p. 9). Finally, human rights
arguments do not problematise the issues of social power which exclusion is often
based on. For example, human rights arguments often do not uncover and examine
issues around why some groups are denied human rights and the forces that sustain
this denial.

Added to these drawbacks of a human rights approach to overcoming exclusion is that


human rights, and indeed legislative rights approaches to inclusion and exclusion are
only effective if they are accepted, maintained and enforced. For the parents in this
study, this was not something that was occurring for them and their children. This is
closely related to Salehs (2001) proposition, who points out that we need to transform
this powerful idea [children rights] into a programme of action on behalf of children
the rights of children in education are willingly acknowledged, but the obligations that
these rights impose often tend to be ignored or minimised (p. 119).

6.3.2 Proposition Two: Disabled Students are Experiencing Exclusion because of


a Lack of Accountability.
Results from this study show that some schools are breaking certain laws and
contravening some human rights conventions. Results also suggest that government and
government agencies may not be fulfilling their legal and human rights obligations to
disabled students.

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For example, The New Zealand National Administration Guidelines (NAGS) (Ministry
of Education, 2008b) set out statements of desirable principles of conduct and
administration for schools. NAG 5 (i) states that every school Board of Trustees is to
provide a safe physical and emotional environment for students. For some of the parents
in this study, this safe environment was not something that was experienced by their
children specifically in relation to the bullying reported by parents and confirmed by
school principals. Similarly NAG 1 (a) states that schools are to provide all students in
years 110 with opportunities to achieve success in all areas of the New Zealand
Curriculum. However, as reported in this study, disabled students were being denied
access to aspects of the New Zealand Curriculum.

Similarly, Section 8 of The 1989 Education Act states that people who have special
educational needs have the same right to enrol and receive education at a state school as
people who are not disabled. The 1993 Human Rights Act is legislation that protects the
rights of students who are disabled. Section 57 of this act makes it illegal for schools to
deny enrolment to a student on the basis of a disability or to treat students who are
disabled less favourably than students who are not disabled. However, some principals
in this study reported feeling justified in denying enrolment to disabled students if they
believed there was insufficient funding, and nearly half of principal respondents to the
questionnaire reported that they had, to a greater or lesser extent, advised parents that
their children would be better served at another school. Parents also reported their
children were offered less favourable enrolment and participation terms.

The question is raised therefore, how is this permitted to happen and why is it
continuing to happen?

In 1989, with the passing of the 1989 Education Act, the responsibility for the
management and administration of schools passed from government control to
individual elected school Boards of Trustees (BOT). Boards of Trustees are made up of
parents and school staff at each school, including the school principal. While there has
been much argument regarding the reality of this devolution of power, authority and
responsibility (e.g., Codd, Gordon, & Harker, 1990), school Boards of Trustees are
responsible for the governance and control of the management of the school. They are
the employer of all staff in the school and are responsible for ensuring that the school

199
provides a safe environment and quality education for all its students, and for
overseeing the management of curriculum, property, finance and administration
(Ministry of Education, 2007b).

Particularly relevant to this study is the school BOT obligations to adhere to the
legislation pertaining to disabled students rights including rights to a safe environment,
to access the school and the curriculum (without extra financial cost), to have access to
the class teacher, and in general, to be treated on no less favourable terms that non-
disabled students. Also relevant is the responsibility of ERO to ensure that schools are
indeed fulfilling their obligations in this area.

To ensure that school Boards of Trustees are fulfilling their obligations, the Education
Review Office (ERO) was developed. The ERO is a government department that is
charged with evaluating and publicly reporting on the quality of education and care of
students in schools and early childhood centres. The official purpose of ERO is to
provide external evaluation that contributes to high quality education for all young New
Zealanders (Education Review Office, 2007b, no page given). Furthermore, ERO,
through its evaluations, aims to inform and influence schools and early childhood
services so that they know what they are doing well and what they could do next to
improve their current practice (ERO, 2007b, no page given). ERO is made up of teams
of experienced teachers who visit schools, visit classrooms, examine documents and
talk with teachers, students, and Board of Trustee members. Specifically, when carrying
out a review in a school or early childhood centre, ERO focuses on three things: school
specific priorities; government priorities; and compliance issues. In regards to
compliance issues, ERO has published a handbook for schools, which outlines the Acts,
regulations and other official documents that schools must comply with The ERO
Handbook of Contractual Obligations and Undertakings: Schools (Education Review
Office, 2004).

While compliance with legal requirements is a major part of any ERO review, since
2002, ERO have been placing a greater reliance on school Boards of Trustees who are
now asked to complete a Board Assurance Statement and self-audit checklists before
ERO arrives in a school. This means that rather than gathering the data themselves,
ERO teams rely on the information reported by the school in their Assurance Statement.

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There are a number of questions for Boards of Trustees in the self audit checklist that
are of particular relevance to the results of this study. These include:
Has the Board, through principal and staff ensured that:
7(a). Teachers of students with disabilities, and other contact staff, have a sound
understanding of the learning needs of students with disabilities? (Education
Review Office, 2004, p. 6)
7(b). Support systems are in place that centre on each individual with
disabilities? (Education Review Office, 2004, p. 6)
25. There are anti-bullying programmes for students and do those anti-bullying
programmes include a focus on racist bullying; bullying of students with special
needs; homophobic bullying; and sexual harassment? (Education Review Office,
2004, p. 9)
27. Policies and procedures that relate to students who have special education
needs are implemented without discrimination, i.e. they are:
Objective, value diversity and are integrated within the school
curriculum;
Regularly re-evaluated and developed to enhance effectiveness;
Well communicated to all staff and families, whnau of student and
consistently applied;
In compliance with the Education Act 1989 (section 8) and the NZ Bill
of Rights Act (section 9), the Human Rights Act 1993 (section 21), the
National Education Guidelines, National Administration Guidelines,
National Education Goals, Curriculum Statements, Foundation
Curriculum Policy Statements and Special Education Guidelines
(Education Review Office, 2004, p. 10).

As part of the self-audit process, schools are required to answer yes, no, or not
applicable to the above questions.

While the ERO self-audit document covers many of the important compliance issues in
relation to the exclusion of disabled studenst from and within schools, results from this
study suggest that some schools are not fulfilling their obligations in these areas. One
possible reason for the discrepancy is that ERO is not gathering the data themselves, but
relying on the information provided by the school. Schools may be indicating in their

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self-audit statement that they are fulfilling their obligations when they are not. This may
not be a deliberate attempt to mislead, but may come about through lack of knowledge
and understanding. Whatever the reason, the practice of asking schools to self-report
their compliance to important legal requirements could be described as less than ideal
and may be linked to the exclusion of disabled students from and within school.

Other factors worth noting is that in the examination of 20 ERO school evaluation
reports, there was some evidence to suggest that disabled students may not be seen as
part of the general school population by ERO. For example special units in regular
schools may not be included in the school reviews by ERO, and ERO may not be giving
due attention to the importance of teacher aides in the inclusion and exclusion of
disabled students. Also, while ERO make reference in school review reports to
inclusion and inclusive environments there is no specificity regarding the meaning that
is attached to its use. Using these terms in such a loose way, without ensuring a shared
understanding of the meaning, may contribute to the masking of exclusion in schools.

The findings associated with ERO need to be interpreted with caution. This discussion
is based on a relatively brief examination of a small number of ERO reports in only one
geographical area of New Zealand. However, indications are that ERO processes may
not be effective in relation to evaluating school compliance around issues of disabled
students. This is an area that would be worthy of further research.

Some have argued that the devolution of power for the governance of schools from
government to school based, elected Boards of Trustees brought with it a devolution of
responsibility and accountability from government to Boards of Trustees as well
(Niven-Simpson, 2004). While this may have been the case, the government cannot be
said to be devoid of accountability and responsibility. However, there is mixed evidence
that the needs and rights of disabled students are held in high regard in this quarter. In
the 2008 Report of the Education and Science Committee Inquiry into making the
schooling system work for every child (New Zealand House of Representatives, 2008),
the only mention of disabled students in the 43 page report was one, five-line paragraph
regarding students on the autism spectrum pointing out that the committee did not
gather any evidence on this group of students.

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Similarly, each year, the government, through the Ministry of Education sets out its
vision for education for the next five years (Statement of Intent). In the Statement of
Intent, 20072012 (Ministry of Education, 2007a) the New Zealand Government
outlined a commitment to implementing the New Zealand Disability Strategy (NZDS),
noting that significant changes will need to occur across the education system if
progress is to be made in this area. It was stated that the government would need to take
the lead across the sector to ensure that no child is denied access to their local school
because of their impairment, that teachers and other educators understand the learning
needs of disabled people and that disabled students, their families, teachers and other
educators have equitable access to the resources available to meet their needs. They also
reported that they would need to work to improve schools responsiveness to and
accountability for, the needs of disabled students (p. 38). However, only one year later,
in May 2008, the government released the Statement of Intent 20082013 with most of
the above references absent. Only scant reference to the NZDS remained (Ministry of
Education, 2008a).

The role of the government in implementing inclusive education is vital. As


Tomasevski, the late United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education
points out, human rights are defined as government obligations because they do not
materialise spontaneously through the interplay of market forces or charity
(Tomasevski, 2004, p. 57). This will require political will on the part of present and
future governments.

6.3.3 Proposition Three: Disabled Students are Experiencing Exclusion because


Inclusive Education is Predicated on Issues of Funding and Resourcing.
Data from school principals, teachers and teacher aides demonstrated a belief on their
part that funding is an important enabler of inclusive education, and few would argue
against this. However, for some principals, disabled students rights to attend school
were directly related to funding and these principals felt justified in excluding disabled
students from full participation at school if they believed that there was insufficient
funding to support them. Similarly, some parents reported that their childs inclusion at
school was directly linked to issues of funding. For some parents, the excuse of lack of
funding was accepted as being a legitimate reason why their children could not be

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included. It appears therefore that some disabled students are experiencing exclusion
because inclusive education is predicated on issues of funding and resourcing. As long
as some schools continue to say that they do not have the resources and funding to meet
the needs of disabled students, disabled students will continue to be excluded from and
within schools.

Similarly, Bourke et al., (2000) reported that some school principals felt justified in
denying disabled students enrolment or full access to school if they believed that there
was not adequate funding and support. In another New Zealand study teachers believed
it was a lack of funding that contributed to a discrepancy between what was required
and what was received to successfully include students with special needs (Prochnow,
Kearney, & Carroll-Lind, 2000).

Findings from the literature and this study raise important questions in relation to
funding. For example, will increased funding bring about the increased inclusion of
disabled students at school? Results from this study suggest that this may not be the
case. For many principals, the allocation of funding was directly related to the
employment of teacher aides. If schools continue to use funding to employ teacher
aides, more funding may in fact make inclusive education less of a reality, for as some
parents in this study explained, teacher aides are sometimes used in ways that exclude
disabled students. This is supported in the literature. Ainscow et al. (2005) and Lorenz
(1998) both point out the potential of teacher aides to segregate disabled students from
the life of the mainstream class and school.

Another critical issue to consider is that it may not be the actual levels of funding that
are the barrier to disabled students presence and participation at school, but rather the
belief that a perceived lack of funding is a legitimate reason to exclude disabled
students. For example, while all interviewed principals believed funding was important
for inclusive education, principals in the x group, who believed that all students belong
in regular schools, placed less importance on funding and emphasised the rights of
students to be at school even though there were difficulties with funding. Providing
further funding to support schools may not guarantee increased presence, participation
and learning of students if the attitudes and beliefs shown to bring about inclusive
education are absent. There is support for this notion in the literature. For example

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Keary (1998) believes that predicating inclusive education on issues of funding can
disguise or take the focus off other important solutions, such as attitudes and values.
Peters, Johnstone, and Ferguson (2005) concur, going so far as saying that the belief
disabled students are excluded because of lack of funding is a myth. Rather they
maintain that the main causes of exclusion are poor attitudes and beliefs regarding the
rights and abilities of disabled students, and the role of regular schools to meet their
needs. Similarly, Ballard (1999) argues that using a lack of resources as an excuse for
excluding students on the basis of their disability is more a statement about the values
held by the excluder than a justification or explanation. He believes that looking at the
issue from this perspectives shows that it is not so much the lack of resources that
exclude, but rather the belief that it is justified to use the lack of resources as an
acceptable reason for exclusion (ibid).

6.3.4 Proposition Four: Disabled Students are Experiencing Exclusion because of


Prejudice
The final proposition is one that perhaps encompasses all preceding propositions. That
is that disabled students are experiencing exclusion because of prejudice towards them.
Prejudice has strong links to exclusion. Yee (2002) reports that when societies hold
negative attitudes about people with impairments, these negative judgments appear to
justify the exclusion of those people. Similarly, Lansdown (2001) reports that deep-
seated prejudice is a serious impediment to disabled students access to mainstream
education.

In the seminal work of Allport (1954), prejudice is defined as an antipathy based upon
a faulty and inflexible generalization. It may be felt or expressed. It may be directed
toward a group as a whole, or toward an individual because he of she is a member of
that group (p. 9). Allport points out that the net effect of prejudice, thus defined, is to
place the object of prejudice at some disadvantage not merited by their own
misconduct (p. 9). In this description, prejudice is described as an attitude. Some
writers believe prejudice involves additional aspects as well. For example Jones (2001)
describes attitudes as the affective aspects of prejudice, stereotypes as the cognitive
aspect of prejudice, and discrimination as the behavioral component of prejudice.

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In this study, parents reported a range of situations where their children experienced
barriers to school inclusion. In many instances, these involved clear indications of
stereotypes (for example, low expectations on the part of teachers, and a focus on the
deficits of students) and discrimination (for example less favourable enrolment terms,
and less access to teacher time). Making links between the data in this study and
affective aspects of prejudice (attitudes) is more tenuous and needs to be done with
care. This is because often attitudes can only be inferred. However, valid links can be
made between some of the data and the phenomenon of affective or attitudinal
prejudice.

Some teachers and principals in this study held perceptions about disabled students that
appeared to justify in their minds, the exclusion of those students. For example the
attitude by some principals that if a students behaviour or cognitive functioning was
particularly below the norm this was reason to expect that they should not be part of
the mainstream classroom. Also, there was an attitude by some teachers and principals
that disabled students required charity or pity, believing that if mainstream education
was too difficult, or too much of a struggle for disabled students, they needed to be
segregated for their own good. Similarly, there was an attitude by some teachers and
principals that it was natural to assume that disabled students could only be permitted at
school if they had teacher aide allocation and also that disabled students were less
worthy of teacher time than non-disabled students.

In a brief to the United States Supreme Court on behalf of Paralyzed Veterans of


America (PVA), Siegal, Dane, and Hill (2000) reported that there has been a long
history of prejudice and mistreatment of disabled people. They believe that while
outrage has accompanied prejudice against racial, ethnic and other minority groups, this
outrage is rarely exhibited in relation to prejudice against disabled people. They
attribute this to the idea held by some that disabled people, unlike other minority
groups, deserve to be treated unequally. This belated attention to the plight of disabled
people has also been the case in New Zealand, where segregated residential hospital
institutions for intellectually disabled people were not closed down until the beginning
of the 21st century. The abuse and neglect that occurred in these institutions has only
recently been widely reported (e.g. McCurdy, 2001) even though it is probable that
many people knew of its existence in the past.

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Teachers are in a unique position to reduce the likelihood that children will develop
prejudice. Some studies have shown that even within mainstream schools, the more
school staff in positions of authority sanction contact between disabled and non-
disabled, the better the attitudes of non-disabled students towards those who are
disabled (MacArthur et al., 2005). This is particularly relevant to this study. It can be
surmised that when teachers and other school leaders displayed prejudiced attitudes and
behaviours towards disabled students, it is likely that they were encouraging in other
students, forms of prejudice towards disabled students. As teachers are in such powerful
positions to make positive or negative differences in relation to prejudice, Ponterotto,
Utsey, and Pedersen (2006) suggest that they must address their own prejudice. This
would seem a most important first step. They propose a model (based on Haberman,
1994) where teachers analyse their own prejudices, look for the sources of their beliefs,
consider the effects of prejudice and plan to eliminate the prejudices. Teachers can also
be effective in reducing and eliminating prejudice in their students if they set up
learning environments based of climates of respect and trust, where open mindedness
and critical thinking are encouraged (Ponterotto et al., 2006).

Also in relation to reducing teacher prejudice, McDonald and MacArthur (2005) found
that teachers are more likely to have a positive attitude towards disabled students if:
they have had previous experience; the school actively supports inclusion;
frequent relevant professional development opportunities are available; teachers
feel confident in their own ability to meet student needs; there are well trained
support staff available for teacher support; and there is potential for
environmental change in the school if needed (pp. 445446).

Key questions are raised. What causes prejudice towards disabled students, what
conditions foster it and how can it be eradicated? The causes of prejudice have been
debated over many years. Allport (1954) identified six major causes of prejudice,
(although he cautioned against seeking single causation factors for such a complex
phenomenon as prejudice). There are:
Historical emphasis where prejudice has its roots in historical events.
Sociocultural emphasis where the social cultural context is examined to
identify those factors that cause competition and conformity within societies.

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Situational emphasis where, for example a child grows up in an atmosphere
of prejudice and conforms to what he or she sees around them.
Phenomenological emphasis, which is based on a persons view of the world
and the labels she or he uses regarding groups of people. It is these factors
that will determine whether or not a person reacts in a prejudiced way.
Psychodynamic emphasis where prejudice is caused by stable personality
characteristics that people bring to social situations. It is these characteristics
that predispose people to act in certain ways (prejudice).

Links between Allports theories of prejudice causation, and data from this study can be
made. For example Allports historical emphasis where prejudice has its roots in
historical events has direct relevance to prejudice associated with disability.
Historically, it was an accepted practice that disabled people were separated from
mainstream society, and placed in institutions. Some participants in this study
demonstrated prejudice that could be linked to this. For example a principal who did not
question his belief that disabled students should be segregated in a school: we have a
unit with a dedicated teacherthey are still part of our assembly so there is inclusion in
that social context. I think that it is important but I honestly dont think you can include
them in the normal class. (P. 6). Similarly, nearly 62% of principal respondents to the
questionnaire either did not think that regular schools should be the place for disabled
students, or they were unsure. Other research highlights the link between the historical
beliefs and practices and prejudice. Fishbein (2002) believes that much of the prejudice
towards disabled students has occurred because of the history of segregated education
systems. This is consistent with research showing that inclusive education is a powerful
tool to break down prejudice in all its forms (UNESCO, 2005).

The other cause of prejudice identified by Allport with direct relevance to this study is
sociocultural emphasis. In particular, Allport emphasises examining contexts to identify
those factors that cause competition and conformity within societies. As competition
within a society increases, prejudice against others who interfere with getting ahead
comes into play. Both the review of the literature and the results of this study identified
sociocultural factors that exclude disabled students from and within school. One
identified factor is the marketisation of education and the associated competition that
this brings. For example principal six who stated: Oh yes, absolutely, they [parents of

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non-disabled students] dont want them [at this school] and I dont blame them.
Similarly, 47% of principal respondents to the questionnaire had, to a greater or lesser
extent, advised parents that their child would be better education at another school.

Also relevant to this study is Allports third theory of prejudice causation, that of
situational emphasis. An example of this is where a child grows up in an atmosphere of
prejudice and conforms to what he or she sees around them. It has relevance to this
study only in so far as it was not seen in the children who participated in the phase three
focus group interview. No forms of prejudice were displayed by any of these children.
Over the last 50 years, some research has examined the phenomenon of non-disabled
students prejudice towards their disabled peers. In a review of much of this literature,
Fishbein (2002) reports that between kindergarten and 6th grade, older students are less
prejudiced than younger ones and that girls show less prejudice than boys. They also
found that children based their attitudes mostly on the behaviour of the disabled person.
It is unknown whether the prejudice shown by adults in this study could be linked to
this theory of prejudice causation.

The final theory of causation that may help to explain the prejudice against disabled
students identified in this study is phenomenological emphasis. This is based on a
persons view of the world and the labels she or he uses regarding groups of people. It is
the labels that people use that determine if they act in a prejudiced way or not. The use
of labels and deficit language was identified in this study as acting to exclude disabled
students from and within school. Based on this theory of prejudice causation, it could be
surmised that the prejudice towards disabled students highlighted in this study had links
to the language people were using in relation to disabled students.

It is beyond the scope of this research to make any definitive conclusions regarding the
causation of prejudice against the disabled students whose experiences form the basis of
this study. Also, knowing the cause of prejudice may not be enough to eliminate and
eradicate it. However, the results uncovered in this study provide a strong signal for the
need to explore this important factor in future research.

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6.4 Summary
This chapter has discussed the findings of the study within the context of the existing
literature and with regard to issues that could be addressed through further research. The
discussion was guided by two of the research questions:
How do some disabled students experience exclusion from and within school?
Why do some disabled students experience exclusion from and within school?

In relation to how disabled students are experiencing exclusion from and within school,
the discussion was focused on eight key findings. This included disabled students being
denied enrolment, full-time attendance at school, or both; being denied access to, and
participation within the curriculum; and being bullied. It also included inappropriate
beliefs and practices in relation to funding; a lack of caring, valuing and responsibility
by some school staff; a lack of teacher knowledge and understanding; poor relationships
between parents and school staff; and inappropriate beliefs and practices in relation to
teacher aides.

Based on the findings of this study, four propositions were put forward to address the
question of why disabled students are being excluded from and within school. These are
that disabled students are experiencing exclusion because: they are seen as less entitled
(than non-disabled students) to mainstream education and to human and legal rights;
schools are not held accountable for the education of disabled students; inclusive
education is predicated on issues of funding and resourcing; and of deep seated
prejudice based on ability.

This study was based on a social constructivist perspective. Therefore, it is important


that results are interpreted in relation to the principles of this perspective. Constructs
such as disability, difference, and exclusion are not a natural order, rather they are
phenomena that are constructed socially and culturally through human interaction.
Therefore, the difficulties experienced by students as reported in this study are not
individual inherent traits, but are created through the contexts that they find themselves
in. Similarly, teacher and principal attitudes and values that play such an important part
in the inclusion and exclusion of disabled students are formed and shaped by complex
interrelationships and often competing ideologies within social settings (e.g. market

210
model systems of education as discussed in chapter two). Those working within
education do not have natural inherent ideals and values that exclude. These values and
ideals are shaped by the context that these people find themselves. Therefore, it is
important to the argument that exclusion is not inevitable; it can be deconstructed in the
same way that it has been constructed.

Even though this thesis cannot provide final definitive answers to the question of why
disabled students are excluded from and within school, this research can claim to
contribute to ongoing discussions and offer the beginnings of some answers to these
questions. The following chapter will present suggestions for reducing the exclusion of
disabled students from school and specifically address the third research question on
how school exclusion can be reduced and eliminated.

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212
CHAPTER SEVEN
CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
______________________________________________________________________

7.1 Introduction
This chapter addresses the third research question: How can disabled students
exclusion from and within school be reduced and eliminated? It draws conclusions from
the findings of the study and, based on these conclusions, provides prompts for teachers,
school principals and senior school managers. The prompts are designed to help guide
attention and discussion to the issues that are important if exclusion is to be reduced and
eliminated. This chapter also outlines recommendations for government and
government agencies that may reduce the exclusion experienced by some disabled
students at school. Finally in this chapter, the contributions and limitations of the study
are outlined, and suggestions made for future research.

7.2 Conclusions from the Study


The parents of disabled students reported a range of factors that acted to exclude their
children from being present, participating and learning at school. Major findings are that
disabled students were being excluded by:
Being denied enrolment and/or full-time attendance at school
Being denied access to, and participation within the curriculum
Being bullied
Inappropriate beliefs and practices in relation to funding
A lack of caring, valuing and responsibility by school staff
A lack of teacher knowledge and understanding
Poor relationships between parents and school staff
Inappropriate beliefs and practices in relation to teacher aides

Based on the results of the study, four propositions were posited to explain why
disabled students are being excluded from school. These were that disabled students are
experiencing exclusion because of:

213
A perception that disabled students are less entitled to human rights than non-
disabled students
Lack of accountability
A belief that inclusive education should be predicated on issues of funding and
resourcing
Prejudice.

These findings point to six key areas for consideration. These are: access; attitudes;
knowledge; responsibility; funding and resourcing; and accountability. Results indicate
that disabled students experience access difficulties associated with enrolment at school
and participation in curriculum and extra-curriculum activities. They also experience
reduced access to their peer group. In relation to attitudes, disabled students can
experience a lack of caring and valuing at school, and a belief by those employed in
schools that they are less entitled to human rights than non-disabled students. They also
experience prejudice as a result of their impairments. Disabled students experience
exclusion through a lack of teacher and principal knowledge and understanding (both of
their needs, and of the concept of inclusive education) and responsibility towards them.
Funding and resourcing issues are often used as legitimate excuses to exclude disabled
students. Finally, results of this study suggest that there is little accountability in regards
to New Zealand legislation and human rights conventions that are designed to protect
the rights of disabled students in education. Table 7.1 shows how the results of the
study can be organised into these key areas.

Inherent in these findings, it is clear that values underpin inclusionary and exclusionary
policies and practices (Ainscow, Booth & Dyson, 2006; Ballard, 2004a; Booth, Nes &
Stromstadt, 2003). They significantly influence school systems and policies as well as
what teachers and principals think and do. At a broader level, values also underpin
government priorities and practices. Ainscow, Booth and Dyson (2006) have identified
an evolving list of values as being important for the development of inclusive schools.
These include equity, participation, community, compassion, respect for diversity,
sustainability and entitlement, although Ainscow, et al., (2006) caution that these will
play out differently in different contexts.

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However, while is it widely reported that inclusive values are a necessary prerequisite
for inclusive education, there needs to be a clear understanding how these values play
out in inclusive practice. This research has make explicit the important link between
values and practice particularly as they relate to the exclusion of disabled students. For
example in this study, disabled students experienced less entitlement to enrolment and
full time attendance at school; less access or entitlement to human and legal rights; and
were excluded by the belief that inclusive education is predicated on issues of funding.
These actions have a direct link to values associated with student entitlement. Similarly,
this study found that disabled students had less than favourable access to the
curriculum, to their peer group and to their class teacher. Issues associated with valuing
participation can be linked to these actions. In addition, a lack of valuing and caring of
disabled students was highlighted through the data. Given that respect for diversity is an
important value for inclusion, these results raise questions for both policy makers and
practitioners. Similarly, the values of equity and fairness were highlighted as important
in the inclusion and exclusion of disabled students. Overall results from this study show
a lack of equity and fairness in relation to disabled students. This was shown not only in
the day-to-day experiences reported by parents, but also at systems level, particularly in
relation to accountability systems such as the Education Review Office.

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Table 7.1
Key areas for consideration
Key Areas How and why are disabled students being excluded from school?
Access Denial of enrolment and/or full-time attendance at school
Denial of access to, and participation within the curriculum
Reduced access to peer group

Accountability Legislation and human rights conventions in relation to disabled


students are not being enforced

Attitudes A lack of caring, valuing of disabled students by school staff


Disabled students are seen as less entitled to human rights than
non-disabled students
There is prejudice towards disabled students
Inclusive education is predicated on issues of funding and
resourcing

Knowledge A lack of teacher and principal knowledge

Responsibility Bullying
Lack of teacher responsibility
Poor relationships between parents and school staff
Inappropriate beliefs and practices in relation to teacher aides

7.3 Reducing and Eliminating School Exclusion


A seemingly simple, but important question that must be asked of any research project
is: So what? What are the implications of the findings, and how can they be used to
make advances and improvements. In this regard, it is very important that the lessons
gained from this study are transferred into suggestions for positive change. How can the
findings of how and why disabled students are excluded from and within school be used
to reduce and eliminate the exclusion experienced by disabled students.

In order to do this, prompts for teachers and school principals/senior managers have
been developed in each of the key areas. Also, based on the findings of this study,
recommendations are made for government and government agencies outlining ways
that they can contribute to the reduction and elimination of school exclusion for
disabled students. Rather than provide prompts by which government and government
agencies can reflect, this section purposely provides strong recommendations. This is

216
based on the premise that governments must take the lead in ensuring a fair, just and
appropriate mainstream education is provided for disabled students in New Zealand.

7.3.1 Prompts
Based on the findings and conclusions of this study, the following prompts are provided
for teachers, school principals and senior school managers. These prompts are designed
to help guide attention and discussion to issues that are important if exclusion is to be
reduced and eliminated. School principals and senior managers should consider both the
prompts for teachers and the prompts for school principals and senior managers. The
prompts are organised under the five key focus areas.

Table 7.2
Access prompts
Key area Audience Prompts:
Access Teachers Disabled students have equality of access to my time.
Disabled students have equality of access to the New
Zealand Curriculum (NZC) (If needed, adaptations and
accommodations are made so disabled students can access
the New Zealand Curriculum Framework).
Disabled students have equality of access to extra-curricula
activities (If needed, adaptations and accommodations are
made so disabled students can access extra curricula
activities).
Disabled students are only removed from the classroom for
learning experiences that are not possible in the regular
class and only if this is in the best interests of the student.
Disabled students have equality of access to their peer
group.

School Disabled students have equality of access to this school


principals Disabled students are able to enrol at this school without
Senior funding preconditions.
managers Disabled students are able to enrol at this school without
attendance pre-conditions (such as only being permitted at
school for part of the day).
Parents are not expected to take their disabled child home if
there are difficulties.

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Table 7.3
Attitude prompts
Key area Prompts for: Prompts:
Attitudes Teachers I hold appropriate expectations of disabled students.
I avoid taking a deficit approach to problem solving issues
related to disabled students.
I avoid stereotyping disabled students based on their label.
I believe disabled students should have equal human rights
to non-disabled students and I work to ensure they receive
them.
I value and care for the disabled students in my class just
as much as for non-disabled students.
I view disabled students as being as entitled to mainstream
education as non-disabled students.
I value and respect the parents of disabled students as I do
non-disabled students parents.

School principals I hold appropriate expectations of disabled students.


Senior managers I avoid taking a deficit approach to problem solving issues
around disabled students.
I avoid stereotyping disabled students based on their label.
I believe disabled students should have equal human rights
to non-disabled students and I work to ensure they receive
them.
I value and care for the disabled students in the school as I
do for non-disabled students.
I view disabled students as being as entitled to mainstream
education as non-disabled students.
I value and respect the parents of disabled students as I do
non-disabled students parents.

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Table 7.4
Knowledge prompts
Key area Prompts for: Prompts:
Knowledge Teachers I am aware of my responsibility to engage in continuous
professional learning related to disabled students.
I am aware of funding frameworks that support the
inclusion of disabled learners.
I am aware of policy, legislation, and human rights
conventions that support the rights of disabled learners to
attend their local mainstream school on equal terms as
their non-disabled peers.
I am aware of education regulations (such as National
Education and Administration Guidelines) related to the
education of disabled students.
I have an understanding of the concept of inclusive
education and the barriers and enablers to such a system.

School Our school provides opportunities for teachers to engage


principals in continuous professional learning specific to meeting the
Senior needs of disabled students.
managers Our school encourages teachers to engage in continuous
professional learning specific to meeting the needs of
disabled students.
I am aware of funding frameworks that support the
inclusion of disabled learners
I am aware of policy, legislation, and human rights
conventions that support the rights of disabled learners to
attend their local mainstream school on equal terms as
their non-disabled peers.
I have an understanding of the concept of inclusive
education and the barriers and enablers to such a system.

Table 7.5
Accountability prompts
Key area Prompts for: Prompts:
Accountability Teachers I hold myself accountable for meeting the needs of
disabled students in my class (in collaboration with
parents/whnau and other professionals).

School Our school systems and policies indicate to teachers that


principals they are accountable for meeting the needs of disabled
Senior students in their class (in collaboration with parents,
managers whnau and other professionals).
I hold myself accountable for meeting the needs of
disabled students in the school (in collaboration with
parents/whnau and other professionals).
There are mechanisms in place that hold teachers
accountable for meeting the needs of disabled students.

219
Table 7.6
Responsibility prompts
Key area Prompts for: Prompts:
Responsibility Teachers I believe that I have prime responsibility for disabled
students in my class (as opposed to other educational
professionals and teacher aides).
I take responsibility for the direction of any teacher
aides who may be working with disabled students in my
class.
I am aware of the exclusionary affect that may occur
when teacher aides work inappropriately with disabled
students.
I am vigilant regarding the bullying of disabled students
and take appropriate action when necessary.
I take responsibility for the emotional, social and
cultural well being of disabled students.
I do not engage in teacher to student bullying.
I understand and pursue my responsibility to establish a
collaborative partnership with parents /whnau of
disabled students.

School Our school is responsible for all disabled students who


principals choose to come here.29
Senior Policies and practices within the school promote the
managers understanding that disabled students are the
responsibility of their class teacher (in collaboration
with parents/whnau and other educational
professionals).
Our school systems and policies encourage the forming
of collaborative partnerships between teachers and
parents/whnau of disabled students.
I am vigilant regarding teacher to student bullying and
take appropriate action when necessary.

Table 7.7
Funding and resourcing prompts
Key area Prompts for: Prompts:
Funding/ Teachers Inclusive education should not be predicated on the issue of
resourcing funding.
Inclusive education should not be predicated on the issue of
teacher aide allocation.

School Inclusive education is not predicated on the issue of


principals funding.
Senior In this school, inclusive education is not be predicated on
managers the issue of teacher aide allocation.
In this school, funding is allocated to disabled students and
used in ways that it was intended.

29
If the student lives within the zone of the school.

220
7.3.2 Recommendations to Government and Government Agencies
Based on the findings of this study, the following recommendations are made to
government and relevant government agencies:
Support and promote the concept of inclusive education.
Implement an information campaign to schools (that reaches all teachers) outlining:
o The nature of inclusive education and the rationale for its implementation.
o Misconceptions about inclusive education.
o Common barriers to the inclusion of disabled students so that teachers,
principals and others working in schools can recognise these.
o The New Zealand Disability Strategy and its place in New Zealand schools.
o The funding available to support disabled students in schools.
o The legislation that guarantees the rights of disabled children to attend their
local neighbourhood school and not be discriminated against.
o The human rights conventions that New Zealand is signatory to, that protect
the rights of disabled students.
o The responsibilities of teachers and schools to uphold human rights
conventions and New Zealand legislation in relation to disabled students.
All relevant government policies and publications should promote the rights of
disabled students to access their local neighbourhood school.
All relevant government policies and publications should promote the rights of
disabled students to access the curriculum.
Introduce policy guidelines on the use of teacher aides in New Zealand schools that
promote the inclusion of disabled students.
Ensure that ERO focus on school compliance issues in relation to disabled students.
Make the issue of human rights in schools a government focus area for ERO, for
how ever many years it takes to improve the human rights of disabled students in
New Zealand Schools (this would likely improve the human rights of other
marginalised groups also).
Encourage the teaching of human rights in all schools.
Ensure that all initial teacher education providers (in their training programmes) are
promoting the rights of disabled students to an inclusive education and the
responsibilities of teachers and schools to provide this in a fair, just and equitable
way.

221
Ensure that there is a fair and equitable funding system to support inclusive
education.
Ensure that this funding is used in the way that promotes the inclusion of disabled
students.

7.4 Further Research


Research is not just about systematic inquiry into issues to seek answers and develop
understanding; it is also about identifying important questions. As a result of this
research, a number of questions have emerged that require further exploration. These
provide the basis for the following recommendations for future research.

Research in the area of teacher aide use is urgently needed. There is a growing trend to
employ teacher aides to work with disabled students in New Zealand schools. This
study has identified issues associated with their use that may act to exclude disabled
students. How are teacher aides being used in schools? What is the rationale for their
use? What are the effects of their use in this way? How can teacher aides be used to
increase the inclusion and reduce the exclusion of disabled students? These are
important questions that require further investigation.

This study caught glimpses of the effects of school exclusion on the disabled students
themselves, their siblings and their families (particularly parents). Little is known of
these effects, in particular, the long-term effects. Further research is needed to address
this area, in particular, what are the short and long term effects of exclusion on disabled
students and their families, and how has this affected the decisions that they make
regarding the type of education chosen?

Teacher-to-student bullying is an issue that was identified as excluding disabled


students from and within school. Little is reported on the nature and extent of teacher to
student bullying although its occurrence is probably well known. Further research is
needed to learn more about the nature of teacher to student bullying. How does it occur?
Why does it occur? Why is it ignored? What can be done to reduce and eliminate
teacher to student bullying? Also required are prevalence figures. What is the
prevalence of teacher to student bullying in New Zealand schools?

222
The link between lack of teacher knowledge and exclusion is reasonably well
documented. However, further research would be useful to uncover specific issues. For
example, does increased knowledge of the specific needs of disabled students lead to
greater inclusion? Does a sound knowledge of funding policies lead to greater
inclusion? Does a sound knowledge of disabled students rights lead to greater
inclusion?

While there is much research examining the role of prejudice in the exclusion of
minority groups, there is little research investigating the phenomenon of teacher
prejudice in relation to disabled students. Again, research investigating the nature and
extent of teacher prejudice in this area would be useful in reducing and eliminating
teacher prejudice towards disabled students.

Finally, the issue of funding. This is an issue that is often associated with inclusive
education and there is a wealth of research investigating this. However, further research
is still required to examine a number of long-held, and often deep-seated beliefs in
relation to funding. For example in this study a number of teachers and principals
believed that if there was a lack of perceived adequate funding, this was a legitimate
reason to exclude disabled students. This phenomenon requires investigation. What is
adequate funding? Why are the rights of disabled children to attend school disregarded
if adequate funding is not provided? Similarly, parents in this study reported paying to
support their children in school. Research into the nature and extent of this practice is
also urgently needed.

7.5 Contributions to Knowledge


This study has investigated the nature of school exclusion experienced by disabled
students in New Zealand schools. It has contributed to knowledge in six main ways.
First, it has provided New Zealand-based evidence that disabled students are
experiencing exclusion from and within school and it has identified some of the ways
that this is happening. Second, the study has contributed possible answers to the
complex question of why disabled students are experiencing exclusion from and within
school. Because of the complexity of this question, multiple answers and perspectives
will be required in order to understand this phenomenon. This study purports to add one

223
piece to this puzzle. Third, this study has raised awareness of the nature of school
exclusion and the challenges faced by disabled students who experience exclusion, and
their families. Fourth, at a practical level, this study has developed suggestions for
teachers and school principals that may reduce and eliminate the exclusion experienced
by disabled students. Fifth, gaps in the research have been identified and suggestions
made for future research. Finally, a contribution has been made to overall
understandings of the phenomenon of school exclusion at both a national and
international level.

7.6 Limitations of the Study


It is important to acknowledge and identify the limitations of any research project. The
limitations associated with the methodologies of this research are discussed in chapter
three. However, there are other limitations that need to be mentioned.

First, the basis of this study was the perceptions of parents. However, it should be noted
that there are multiple realities to any phenomenon, and if the study had taken the
perceptions of teachers as its basis, completely different results would likely have been
found.

Another limitation of this study is that the parents who participated were self-selected.
Therefore, it cannot be said that the factors identified as acting to exclude disabled
students from and within school are representative of all disabled students, or even
representative of all disabled students who have experienced exclusion from and within
school.

A further limitation of the study is the lack of data gathering based on observations of
exclusion and a lack of disabled student voice. While this was an original intention of
phase one and three of the study, difficulties acquiring participant permission to carry
out this form of data gathering made this impossible.

Finally, a limitation of the study is the relatively small sample size of all phases of the
research. Again, this limits the generalisability of the findings.

224
7.7 Final Words
The path towards inclusive education systems will require the identification and
removal of all forms of exclusion and this will not be an easy task. However, it is hoped
that the factors acting to exclude disabled students that have been uncovered in this
study, and the propositions suggested as to why disabled students are experiencing
exclusion in New Zealand schools, will contribute to this process.

Presently, as this study has shown, disabled students and their parents are blazing the
trail towards more inclusive schools. However, they are paying a very high price,
physically, emotionally and financially and for some, the toll is very high. These parents
and students must be supported. As Fergusson (1992) reminds us, making a future
where inclusive education is a reality must involve all of us. Particularly important is
the role that government plays in bringing about change.

It seems fitting to end with a quote from one of the parent participants who describes
her hope for more inclusionary communities and schools:
Through my life experience Ive come to think that our communities and all the
people are going to be much happier if we just have a place for everybody
where they all get dignity, and where they all feel worthwhile. So I think its just
how I would live my life and how I would like our communities to be. And I
would like our school communities to be like that too. And that is what we
intend for our daughter even though there are lots of times where we find that in
her life its way short of that.

For this parent, her daughter, and all whom experience exclusion from and within
school, we must work together to reduce and eliminate all forms of school exclusion. In
this way, schools can be places that are safe and welcoming for all children and young
people, places where they can participate, learn and belong.

225
226
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Wilkinson, T. M. (2001). The core ideas of research ethics. In M. Tolich (Ed.),
Research ethics in Aotearoa New Zealand (pp. 1324). Auckland, New Zealand:
Pearson Education.

Yee, S. (2002). Where prejudice, disability and disablism meet. Papers conceived and
Commissioned by the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF).
Retrieved November 20, 2007, from
http://www.dredf.org/international/paper_yee.html

Yin, R. K. (1994). Case study research: Design and methods (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks,
CA: Sage.

Zarb, G. (1997). Researching disabling barriers. In C. B. G. Mercer (Ed.), Doing


disability research. Leeds, UK: The Disability Press.

Zorn, T. (2008). Designing and conducting semi-structured interviews for research.


Retrieved October 19, 2008, from http://wms-
soros.mngt.waikato.ac.nz/NR/rdonlyres/em25kkojrnxofpq3j7avsnl46vkmera63k
k2s6nd5ey2pypoxs32ne7dykntjde4u2qhffhpol6bzi/Interviewguidelines.pdf

246
Appendix A Advertisement
Appendix A1: Phase one advertisement for parent newsletters/magazines

ARE YOU THE PARENT OR CAREGIVER OF A CHILD WHO HAS


EXPERIENCED BARRIERS TO THEIR INCLUSION IN A REGULAR
SCHOOL?

My name is Alison Kearney and I am a senior lecturer at Massey University where I


teach in the area of inclusive education. As part of my PhD, I am looking at identifying
barriers to the inclusion of learners who are disabled or who experience difficulties with
learning and behaviour. If you are a parent of a child who has experienced barriers or
difficulties being included in a regular school, I am interested in hearing your story.

In order to do this, I have set up a short questionnaire on a web page. If you would be
interested in finding out more about this research with the possibility of completing the
questionnaire, please visit the web site on:

http://education.massey.ac.nz/A_Kearney_Questionnaire.htm

Or alternatively, contact me at the address below and I will send you an information
sheet and a questionnaire. My contact details are:

Alison Kearney
Senior Lecturer
Massey University College of Education
Private Bag 11 222
Palmerston North
06 3569099 ext 8704
a.c.Kearney@massey.ac.nz

247
Appendix B Information Sheets
Appendix B1: Phase one parent interview information sheet

Barriers to School Inclusion: Cultures, Policies and Practices

Information Sheet
Phase One: Parent/Caregiver Interview

Introduction
My name is Alison Kearney and I am employed as a senior lecturer at Massey
University College of Education. This research forms the first phase of my PhD study
into barriers to the school inclusion of children and young people who are disabled or
who experience difficulties with learning and behaviour. You kindly completed a
questionnaire that was examining barriers to your childs presence, participation and
learning at school. As part of that questionnaire, you indicated your interest in
participating in a follow up interview. The purpose of this sheet is to give you
information about this interview, and invite you to participate.

Over sixty people responded to the web questionnaire, and all had interesting stories to
tell of the barriers they had experienced in trying to get their child included in
mainstream schools. Unfortunately, I cannot interview all of those who volunteered, so
I have chosen a sample of 12, based on the main barrier experienced. You form part of
this sample of 12.

Project Procedures
You are invited to participate in a follow up interview. This should take approximately
one hour (more or less, depending on what you wish to say) and can happen at a place
of your choice. It can also be over the telephone if you would prefer, I can ring you at a
time to suit. With your permission, I would like to audio tape the interview, although
again, you can choose for the interview not to be taped. Once all interviews are
completed, the tapes will be transcribed by another person (who will have signed a
confidentiality agreement) and analysed by me for themes and threads. No identifying
data will be used, so reducing the likelihood of identifying participants. All participants
will have their identity protected. I will send a copy of the transcribed interviews back
to you so that you can ensure that you are happy with what has been recorded. Copies of
the tapes can also be sent back to you to keep, or I will store them in my locked office,
together with a copy of the transcripts for a period of five years, after which they will be
destroyed.

I would also like the opportunity to invite your child to participate in an interview. To
do this, I would first seek your informed consent, then, the informed consent of your
child.
However, even if you do not consent to your child being interviewed, I would still be
interested in talking with you.

248
If you wish, you will be sent a summary of my findings from this phase of the research.

Participants Rights
You are under no obligation to accept this invitation. If you decide to participate, you
have the right to:
decline to answer any particular question;
withdraw from the study (up to three months after the interview date);
ask any questions about the study at any time during participation;
provide information on the understanding that your name will not be used unless you
give permission to the researcher;
be given access to a summary of the project findings when it is concluded;
ask for the audio/video tape to be turned off at any time during the interview.

If as a result of participating in this interview you experience any emotional distress, I


have information about support services you can contact for help.

Could I also suggest that you should informally discuss the research with your child and
only participate if your child is happy for you to talk to me about them.

Name and contact details of researcher:


Alison Kearney
Department of Learning and Teaching
Massey University College of Education
Private Bag 11 222
Palmerston North
PH 3569099 ext 8704
a.c.kearney@massey.ac.nz

Supervisor
Professor Ruth Kane
Department of Maths, Science and Technology
Massey University College of Education
Private Bag 11 222
Palmerston North
Ph 3569099 ext 8766
r.kane@massey.ac.nz

This project has been reviewed and approved by the Massey University Human Ethics Committee,
Wellington Application 05/45 If you have any concerns about the ethics of this research, please contact
Professor Sylvia Rumball, Chair, Massey University Campus Human Ethics Committee: WGTN
telephone 06 350 5249 x 8635, email humanethicspn@massey.ac.nz

249
Appendix B2: Phase one child interview information sheet

Barriers to School Inclusion: Cultures, Policies and Practices


Information Sheet
Phase One: Child/Young Person Participants

To be read aloud
Hello, my name is Alison Kearney and I am work at Massey University as a teacher. I
am also studying at that university for a qualification called a PhD. As part of this
study, I am doing a project looking at the difficulties or troubles some kids who are
disabled or who experience difficulties with learning and behaviour have at school.

Have you ever been on the internet? If you have ever been on the internet, you will
know that there are heaps of sites you can visit there. A few months ago, I put some
questions on the internet and asked parents of kids who had difficulties at school to go
to this site and answer these questions. Your Mum/Dad/caregiver went to this site and
answered my questions. Your Mum/Dad/caregiver has said that it is OK if I asked you
if you would like to answer some of my questions to help me with my study.

So that is what I am doing now, asking you if it would be OK, if I asked you some
questions about troubles or difficulties that you may have had at school. You do not
have to say yes, no one will mind! Or, even if you do say yes, and I ask you a question
you do not want to answer, you do not have to answer that or any other questions. Later
on, if you change your mind about being part of this study, you can let me or your
Mum/Dad/caregiver know (my phone number and address are at the bottom of this
sheet) and if it is no later than three months after the interview, I can throw away all of
your answers or just send them back to you and not use them at all.

There are about five questions and it will probably take about one hour to talk about
them. If you have any questions, you can ask me at anytime, and, if you want to, I can
send you a copy of the summary of what I find out from my study. One of the other
things about taking part in this study is that I will not use your name. That means no one
will know that the answers you give to my questions came from you (this means you are
anonymous!)

Because I cannot write very fast, I would like to tape your answers. But if you dont
want me to do this, thats OK, I can just take some notes. Also, you might say at the
beginning that it is OK to tape what you are saying, but later on, want the tape recorder
turned off. This is OK too, you can just ask me to turn it off and I will. If you want, I
will send the tape back to you to keep, or I can just keep it in my office at work in a
locked cupboard. You can let me know what you would like.

I am going to talk to another 11 Mums/Dads/caregivers and kids just like you, and ask
them the same questions. When I have finished doing all that, I am going to listen to the
tapes, put all the information together and write down what I have found out from

250
talking to you all. This will be for my study I told you about earlier. When I type up all
the things that you said to me, I will send this back to you, or your mum/dad/caregiver
to look at. If you want me to change anything or take it out, I can do that up to three
months after the interview date.

I dont think it will happen, but perhaps talking to me about some of the hard stuff that
has happened to you at school may make you sad. If this does happen, I can tell you, or
your Mum/Dad/caregiver where to go if you would like someone to help you feel better.

You do not have to take part in answering these questions, but if you decide you want to
you are allowed to:
Not answer any questions you dont want to
Start answering the questions than say that you dont want to do it any more;
Answer all the questions, then say that you want all your answers taken out of my
study (up to three months after the interview);
ask any questions about the study at any time you like;
know that no one will know your name or know any of the answers belong to you;
be given a summary of what I have found out by interviewing all the people in my
study;
Ask to have the tape recorder turned off, or not used at all.

Name of researcher and how to contact her:


Alison Kearney
Department of Learning and Teaching
Massey University College of Education
Private Bag 11 222
Palmerston North
PH 3569099 ext 8704
a.c.kearney@massey.ac.nz

Supervisor
Professor Ruth Kane
Department of Maths, Science and Technology
Massey University College of Education
Private Bag 11 222
Palmerston North
Ph 3569099 ext 8766
r.kane@massey.ac.nz

This project has been reviewed and approved by the Massey University Human Ethics Committee,
Wellington Application 05/45. If you have any concerns about the ethics of this research, please contact
Professor Sylvia Rumball, Chair, Massey University Campus Human Ethics Committee: WGTN
telephone 06 350 5249 x 8635, email humanethicspn@massey.ac.nz

251
Appendix B3: Phase two school principal questionnaire information sheet

Barriers to School Inclusion: Cultures, Policies and Practices


Information Sheet
Phase Two: School Principal Questionnaire
Research/Researcher Introduction
My name is Alison Kearney and I am employed as a senior lecturer at Massey
University College of Education. This research forms the second phase of my PhD
study into barriers to the school inclusion of children and young people who are
disabled, or who experience difficulties with learning and behaviour, and the factors
that act to exclude them. I have already conducted the first phase of this research where
I invited parents of disabled children to complete a web questionnaire. This
questionnaire identified specific barriers that children had experienced to being included
at school. I then went on and interviewed twelve parents all around New Zealand,
exploring in more depth, some of the issues that they had raised.

I am now looking at the issue from within the school. I am particularly interested in
answers to the following questions:

What are the barriers to mainstream school inclusion for disabled students?
Why do some schools erect barriers to the inclusion of disabled students?
How do schools erect barriers to the inclusion of disabled students?
What behaviours, beliefs, attitudes, norms and values are found in schools that
exclude and marginalize disabled students?
How can barriers to school inclusion be broken down?

Project Procedures
There are two stages to this phase of the research.
The attached questionnaire
A semi structured interview with school principals who volunteer

This questionnaire forms the first part of this phase of the research. All principals in the
[name of three geographical regions in New Zealand] have been sent a questionnaire
with an invitation to complete it. The questionnaire should take approximately 30-40
minutes to complete. There is a section at the end of the questionnaire inviting
principals to participate in a follow up interview. This should take approximately one
hour. Completing the questionnaire does not imply a willingness to participate in any
follow up interview so even if you do not want to participate in a follow up interview, I
would still appreciate you taking the time to complete the questionnaire. The final stage
of the research has not yet been finalized but will take place in one school.

Once all questionnaires have been collected, data will be collated, aggregated and used
to present findings to the research questions. Along with data gathered from other
phases of this project, this data will form the basis of my PhD research report. Once
data from all phases of the project have been analysed, I intend to develop user

252
friendly teacher resources that identify the barriers to school inclusion for learners who
are disabled and ways that these can be overcome

All raw data will be stored for a period of five years in a lockable filing cabinet in my
office at Massey University.

Participants Rights
You are under no obligation to accept this invitation to complete this questionnaire. If
you choose to do this, you have the following rights as set out in the Massey University
Code of Ethical Conduct.
The right to:
decline to answer any particular question;
withdraw from the study up to two months after completing the questionnaire;
ask any questions about the study at any time during participation (the
researchers contact details are provided on this information sheet);
provide information on the understanding that your name will not be used unless
you give permission to the researcher;
be given access to a summary of the project findings when it is concluded (you
have the opportunity to indicate at the end of the questionnaire if you would like
to be sent a summary of the questionnaire data).
Completion and return of the questionnaire implies consent. You have the right to
decline to answer any particular question.

Project Contacts
If you have any questions about this research you can contact me, or my supervisors.
Contact details are:

Researcher:
Alison Kearney
School of Curriculum and Pedagogy
Massey University College of Education
Private Bag 11222
Palmerston North
Ph 06 3569099 ext 8704

Supervisors:
Dr Jill Bevan-Brown Dr Roseanna Bourke
School of Curriculum and Pedagogy Centre for Educational Research
Massey University College of Education Massey University College of Education
Private Bag 11222 Private Bag 11222
Palmerston North Palmerston North
Ph 06 3569099 ext 8764 Ph 06 3569099 ext 8304

This part of the project has been evaluated by peer review and judged to be low risk. Consequently, it has
not been reviewed by one of the Universitys Human Ethics Committees. The researcher named above is
responsible for the ethical conduct of this research. If you have any concerns about the conduct of this
research that you wish to raise with someone other than the research, please contact Professor Sylvia
Rumball, Assistant to the Vice-chancellor (Ethics & Equity), telephone 06 350 5349, email
humanethicspn@massey.ac.nz

253
Appendix B4: Phase two school principal interview information sheet

Barriers to School Inclusion: Cultures, Policies and Practices


Information Sheet
Phase Two: School Principal Interviews

Research/Researcher Introduction
My name is Alison Kearney and I am employed as a senior lecturer at Massey
University College of Education. This research is part of my PhD study into barriers to
the school inclusion of children and young people who are disabled or who experience
difficulties with learning and behaviour, and the factors that act to exclude and
marginalize these students. I have already conducted earlier stages of this research
where I invited parents of disabled children to complete a web questionnaire. This
questionnaire identified specific barriers that children had experienced to being included
at school. I then went on and interviewed twelve parents all around New Zealand,
exploring in more depth some of the issues that they had raised.

The second phase of the research involves looking at the issue from within the school.
Late in 2006, I sent questionnaires to all school principals in the [name of three
geographical areas] districts. From this population, 47 completed questionnaires were
returned to me. You were one of the school principals who completed a questionnaire
and you also indicated your willingness to participate in a follow up interview. As I
pointed out in the information sheet you received with the questionnaire, in this part of
the research, I am particularly interested in the following questions:

What are the barriers to mainstream school inclusion for disabled students?
Do some schools erect barriers to the inclusion of disabled students?
How do schools erect barriers to the inclusion of disabled students?
What behaviours, beliefs, attitudes, norms and values are found in schools that
exclude and marginalize disabled students?
How can barriers to school inclusion be broken down?

Project Procedures
There are two parts to this phase of the research.
The questionnaire (which you have already completed)
A semi-structured interview with school principals who volunteer

The interview that I am inviting you to participate in forms the second part of this phase
of the research. Participating in the follow-up interview does not imply a willingness
to participate in any other part of this research.

Once all the interviews have been conducted, interview tapes will be transcribed,
analysed and used to present findings to the research questions. Along with data
gathered from the other phases of this project, this data will form the basis of my PhD
research report. Once data from all phases of the project have been analysed, I intend to

254
develop user friendly teacher resources that identify the barriers to school inclusion
for learners who are disabled and ways that these can be overcome.

All raw data will be stored for a period of five years in a lockable filing cabinet in my
office at Massey University.

Participants Rights
You are under no obligation to accept this invitation to participate in this interview. If
you choose to do this, you have the following rights as set out in the Massey University
Code of Ethical Conduct.
The right to:
decline to answer any particular question;
withdraw from the study up to two months after completing the interview;
ask any questions about the study at any time during participation (the researchers
contact details are provided on this information sheet;
provide information on the understanding that your name will not be used unless you
give permission to the researcher;
be given access to a summary of the project findings when it is concluded.

Project Contacts
If you have any questions about this research you can contact me, or my supervisors.
Contact details are:

Researcher:
Alison Kearney
School of Curriculum and Pedagogy
Massey University College of Education
Private Bag 11222
Palmerston North
Ph 06 3569099 ext 8704

Supervisors:
Dr Jill Bevan-Brown Dr Roseanna Bourke
School of Curriculum and Pedagogy Centre for Educational Research
Massey University College of Education Massey University College of Education
Private Bag 11222 Private Bag 11222
Palmerston North Palmerston North
Ph 06 3569099 ext 8764 Ph 06 3569099 ext 8304

This part of the project has been evaluated by peer review and judged to be low risk. Consequently, it has
not been reviewed by one of the Universitys Human Ethics Committees. The researcher named above is
responsible for the ethical conduct of this research. If you have any concerns about the conduct of this
research that you wish to raise with someone other than the research, please contact Professor Sylvia
Rumball, Assistant to the Vice-chancellor (Ethics & Equity), telephone 06 350 5349, email
humanethicspn@massey.ac.nz

255
Appendix B5: Phase three teacher interview information sheet

Barriers to School Inclusion: Cultures, Policies and Practices


Information Sheet
Phase Three: Teacher Interviews

Research/Researcher Introduction
My name is Alison Kearney and I am employed as a senior lecturer at Massey
University College of Education. I am presently involved in a PhD study looking at
barriers to the school inclusion of children and young people who are disabled, or who
experience difficulties with learning and behaviour. This research forms the third phase
of my PhD study. I am now looking at the issue from within the school. I am
particularly interested in answers to the following questions:

What are the barriers to mainstream school inclusion for disabled students?
Why do some schools erect barriers to the inclusion of disabled students?
How do schools erect barriers to the inclusion of disabled students?
What behaviours, beliefs, attitudes, norms and values are found in schools that
exclude and marginalize disabled students?
How can barriers to school inclusion be broken down?

Project Procedures
Data is being gathered to answer these questions in three phases:
Phase one: Web questionnaire and interviews with parents
Phase two: Questionnaire and interviews with school principals
Phase three: Interviews with teachers, teacher aides and a group of school students.

Project Procedures
I would like to invite you to participate in an interview. The interview should take
approximately 60 minutes (more or less, depending on what you wish to say). With
your permission, I would like to tape the interview, although again, you can request the
interview not to be taped. Once the interview is completed, the tape will be transcribed
by another person (who will have signed a confidentiality agreement) and analysed by
me for themes. No identifying data will be used, so reducing the likelihood of
identifying participants. All participants will have their identity protected. Copies of the
tapes will be stored in my locked office, together with a copy of the transcripts for a
period of five years, after which they will be destroyed.

If you wish, you will be sent a summary of my findings from this phase of the research.

Participants Rights
You are under no obligation to accept this invitation. If you decide to participate, you
have the right to:

decline to answer any particular question;

256
withdraw from the study (up to three months after the interview date);
ask any questions about the study at any time during participation;
provide information on the understanding that your name will not be used unless you
give permission to the researcher;
be given access to a summary of the project findings when it is concluded.

Project Contacts
If you have any questions about this research you can contact me, or my supervisors.
Contact details are:

Researcher:
Alison Kearney
School of Curriculum and Pedagogy
Massey University College of Education
Private Bag 11222
Palmerston North
Ph 06 3569099 ext 8704

Supervisors:
Dr Jill Bevan-Brown Dr Roseanna Bourke
School of Curriculum and Pedagogy Centre for Educational Research
Massey University College of Education Massey University College of Education
Private Bag 11222 Private Bag 11222
Palmerston North Palmerston North
Ph 06 3569099 ext 8764 Ph 06 3569099 ext 8304

This project has been reviewed and approved by the Massey University Human Ethics Committee:
Southern B, Application 07/17. If you have any concerns about the conduct of this research, please
contact Dr Karl Pajo, Chair, Massey University Human Ethics Committee: Southern B, telephone 04 801
5799 x 6929, email humanethicsouthb@massey.ac.nz

257
Appendix B6: Phase three parent of focus group student information sheet

Barriers to School Inclusion: Cultures, Policies and Practices


Information Sheet
Phase Three: Parents of Potential Students for Focus Group Interview

Research/Researcher Introduction
My name is Alison Kearney and I am employed as a senior lecturer at Massey
University College of Education. Prior to taking up my position at Massey University, I
was a primary school teacher for 15 years. I am presently involved in a PhD study
looking at barriers to the school inclusion of children and young people who are
disabled or who experience difficulties with learning and behaviour. This research
forms the third phase of my PhD study looking at the issue from within the school. I am
particularly interested in answers to the following questions:

What are the barriers to mainstream school inclusion for disabled students?
Why do some schools erect barriers to the inclusion of disabled students?
How do schools erect barriers to the inclusion of disabled students?
What behaviours, beliefs, attitudes, norms and values are found in schools that
exclude and marginalize disabled students?
How can barriers to school inclusion be broken down?

Project Procedures
Data is being gathered to answer these questions in three phases:
Phase one: Web questionnaire and interviews with parents
Phase two: Questionnaire and interviews with school principals
Phase three: Interviews with teachers, teacher aides and a group of school students.

As part of the third phase of the research, I wish to talk to a randomly selected
group of students regarding their thoughts about the inclusion of disabled
students. Your child has indicated an interest in being part of this focus group of
students. I would like to seek your informed consent for your child to participate.

Focus Group Procedures


The focus group discussion should take approximately 60 minutes. There are about ten
main questions (I have attached these for your information). The discussion will happen
at school, probably in the school library or staffroom. There will be approximately 10
students participating in the focus group discussion. The students have been selected by
asking the school to randomly select a pre-determined number of students from the
school roll.

With the permission or all the students participating in the focus group discussion, I
would like to audio tape it. The tape will be transcribed by another person (who will
have signed a confidentiality agreement) and analysed by me for themes. No identifying

258
data will be used, so reducing the likelihood of identifying participants. All participants
will have their identity protected. Every student in the focus group will have the
opportunity to be sent a summary of the findings from this phase of the research.

Copies of the tapes will be stored in my locked office, together with a copy of the
transcripts for a period of five years, after which they will be destroyed.

Students will be asked not to talk about individual children. However, if this does
happen accidentally, students will be asked to keep what is said at the focus group
confidential.

Participants Rights
The students are under no obligation to accept the invitation to participate in the focus
group discussion. As a parent/caregiver, you are under no obligation to give your
permission for your child to participate in the focus group discussion. If students do
accept the invitation to participate and you give your permission, they have the
following rights:

to decline to answer any particular question;


to ask any questions about the study at any time during participation;
to provide information on the understanding that their name will not be used;
to be given access to a summary of the project findings when it is concluded.

Project Contacts
If you have any questions about this research you can contact me, or my supervisors.
Contact details are:

Researcher:
Alison Kearney
School of Curriculum and Pedagogy
Massey University College of Education
Private Bag 11222
Palmerston North
Ph 06 3569099 ext 8704

Supervisors:
Dr Jill Bevan-Brown Dr Roseanna Bourke
School of Curriculum and Pedagogy Centre for Educational Research
Massey University College of Education Massey University College of Education
Private Bag 11222 Private Bag 11222
Palmerston North Palmerston North
Ph 06 3569099 ext 8764 Ph 06 3569099 ext 8304

This project has been reviewed and approved by the Massey University Human Ethics Committee:
Southern B, Application 07/17. If you have any concerns about the conduct of this research, please
contact Dr Karl Pajo, Chair, Massey University Human Ethics Committee: Southern B, telephone 04 801
5799 x 6929, email humanethicsouthb@massey.ac.nz

Please complete the form below and ask your child to return it in the supplied
envelope to the school office. Alternatively, you can pop it in any NZ Post box, the
postage has been paid.

259
Appendix B7: Phase three student focus group information sheet

Barriers to School Inclusion: Cultures, Policies and Practices


Information Sheet
Phase Three: Student Focus Group
Research/Researcher Introduction
Hello, my name is Alison Kearney and I work at Massey University as a teacher. I am
also studying at that university for a qualification called a PhD. As part of this study, I
am doing a project looking at the difficulties or troubles some kids with learning and/or
behaviour difficulties and kids who are disabled, have at school.

Last year, I put some questions on the internet and asked parents who had kids with
disabilities or special difficulties to go to this site and answer these questions. About 63
parents did this. Then I asked some parents if I could interview them about the things
that had happened to their kids. This was the first part of my project. In the second part
of my project I talked to school principals.

In the last part of my project I want to go into a school and talk to teachers and students
about what they think about including kids who have behaviour and learning difficulties
or disabilities. So that is what I am doing now, Im asking you if you would like to be
part of this study. I would like to invite you to be part of a group of about ten students to
answer some questions I have. We would all sit in the same room at school, I would ask
your opinions about some things to do with my study, and if you wanted to answer any
of the questions, you could.

The questions would be about things that get in the way of kids who have difficulties
with learning and behaviour or kids who are disabled being a normal part of the school.
I am looking to see if there are some things that happen at school that makes it hard for
these kids to feel part of a school and be included in all the stuff that other kids do, other
kids without these difficulties. I dont want us to talk about any ONE student, so I
dont want us to name anyone, I just want to talk about your ideas in general.

You do not have to say yes to being part of this study, no one will mind! Or, even if you
do say yes, and I ask you a question you do not want to answer, you do not have to
answer that or any other questions. Later on, if you change your mind about being part
of this study, you can let me or your Mum/Dad/caregiver know (my phone number and
address are at the bottom of this sheet) and if it is no later than three months after the
interview, I can throw away all of your answers or just send them back to you and not
use them at all.

There are about ten questions and it will probably take about one hour to talk about
them. If you have any questions, you can ask me at anytime, and, if you want to, I can
send you a copy of the summary of what I find out from my study. One of the other
things about taking part in this study is that I will not use your name. That means no one

260
will know that the answers you give to my questions came from you (this means you are
anonymous).

Because I cannot write very fast, I would like to tape your answers. However, all the
kids in the group would have to agree that that is OK. If one person says no, I will just
take notes.

When I have finished doing all that, I am going to listen to the tapes, put all the
information together and write down what I have found out from talking to you all. This
will be for my study I told you about earlier.

Copies of the tapes will be stored in my locked office, together with a copy of the
transcripts for a period of five years, after which they will be destroyed.

If you want to be part of this group of students that takes part in this study, here is a
summary of your rights. You are allowed to:
Not answer any questions you dont want to;
Start answering the questions than say that you dont want to do it any more;
Answer all the questions, then say that you want all your answers taken out of
my study (up to three months after the interview);
Ask any questions about the study at any time you like;
Know that no one will know your name or know any of the answers belong to
you;
Be given a summary of what I have found out by interviewing all the people in
my study.

Name of researcher and how to contact her:


Alison Kearney
School of Curriculum and Pedagogy
Massey University College of Education
Private Bag 11 222
Palmerston North
PH 3569099 ext 8704
a.c.kearney@massey.ac.nz

Supervisors:
Dr Jill Bevan-Brown Dr Roseanna Bourke
School of Curriculum and Pedagogy Centre for Educational Research
Massey University College of Education Massey University College of Education
Private Bag 11222 Private Bag 11222
Palmerston North Palmerston North
Ph 06 3569099 ext 8764 Ph 06 3569099 ext 8304

This project has been reviewed and approved by the Massey University Human Ethics Committee:
Southern B, Application 07/17. If you have any concerns about the conduct of this research, please
contact Dr Karl Pajo, Chair, Massey University Human Ethics Committee: Southern B, telephone 04 801
5799 x 6929, email humanethicsouthb@massey.ac.nz

261
Appendix B8 Phase Three: Teacher-aide focus group interview
information sheet

Barriers to School Inclusion: Cultures, Policies and Practices


Information Sheet
Phase Three: Teacher-Aide Focus Group Interview
Research/Researcher Introduction
My name is Alison Kearney and I am employed as a senior lecturer at Massey
University College of Education. I am presently involved in a PhD study looking at
barriers to the school inclusion of children and young people who are disabled, or who
experience difficulties with learning and behaviour. This research forms the third phase
of my PhD study. I am now looking at the issue from within the school. I am
particularly interested in answers to the following questions:

What are the barriers to mainstream school inclusion for disabled students?
Why do some schools erect barriers to the inclusion of disabled students?
How do schools erect barriers to the inclusion of disabled students?
What behaviours, beliefs, attitudes, norms and values are found in schools that
exclude and marginalize disabled students?
How can barriers to school inclusion be broken down?

Project Procedures
Data is being gathered to answer these questions in three phases:
Phase one: Web questionnaire and interviews with parents
Phase two: Questionnaire and interviews with school principals
Phase three: Interviews with teachers, teacher aides and a group of school students

Project Procedures
The focus group discussion should take approximately 60 minutes. There are about ten
main questions (I have attached these for your information). The discussion will happen
at school, probably in the school library or staffroom.

With the permission or all the teacher-aides participating in the focus group discussion,
I would like to audio-tape the focus group interview. The tape will be transcribed by
another person (who will have signed a confidentiality agreement) and analysed by me
for themes. No identifying data will be used, so reducing the likelihood of identifying
participants. All participants will have their identity protected. Every person in the focus
group will have the opportunity to be sent a summary of the findings from this phase of
the research.

Copies of the tapes will be stored in my locked office, together with a copy of the
transcripts for a period of five years, after which they will be destroyed.

262
If you wish, you will be sent a summary of my findings from this phase of the research.

Participants Rights
You are under no obligation to accept this invitation. If you decide to participate, you
have the right to:
decline to answer any particular question;
withdraw from the study (up to three months after the interview date);
ask any questions about the study at any time during participation;
provide information on the understanding that your name will not be used unless
you give permission to the researcher;
be given access to a summary of the project findings when it is concluded.

Project Contacts
If you have any questions about this research you can contact me, or my supervisors.
Contact details are:

Researcher:
Alison Kearney
School of Curriculum and Pedagogy
Massey University College of Education
Private Bag 11222
Palmerston North
Ph 06 3569099 ext 8704

Supervisors:
Dr Jill Bevan-Brown Dr Roseanna Bourke
School of Curriculum and Pedagogy Centre for Educational Research
Massey University College of Education Massey University College of Education
Private Bag 11222 Private Bag 11222
Palmerston North Palmerston North
Ph 06 3569099 ext 8764 Ph 06 3569099 ext 8304

This project has been reviewed and approved by the Massey University Human Ethics Committee:
Southern B, Application 07/17. If you have any concerns about the conduct of this research, please
contact Dr Karl Pajo, Chair, Massey University Human Ethics Committee: Southern B, telephone 04 801
5799 x 6929, email humanethicsouthb@massey.ac.nz

263
Appendix C: Questionnaires
Appendix C1: Phase one parent web questionnaire
______________________________________________________________________
Barriers to the Inclusion in Regular Schools of
Children and Young People who are Disabled or Experience Difficulties with
Learning and Behaviour

A Questionnaire
Thank you for logging on to this web questionnaire. My name is Alison Kearney and
this research forms the basis of my PhD thesis looking at identifying barriers to the
inclusion of children and young people who are disabled or who experience difficulties
with learning and behaviour. I am a Senior Lecturer at Massey University College of
Education where I teach and research in the area of special and inclusive education.
Prior to taking up my position at Massey University I was a class teacher and a
resource teacher for 17 years. If you would like to contact me, my contact details are
printed at the end of this page. You will also find the contact details of my research
supervisors.

______________________________________________________________________
Information about the Research
This questionnaire is part of a larger study that is looking at barriers to the school
inclusion of children and young people who are disabled or who experience difficulties
with learning and behaviour. The trend in New Zealand is to educate children and
young people who are disabled, in regular school settings. However, even when
children are in their local school, there are indications to suggest that some of these
children and young people are experiencing a number of exclusionary forces, or barriers
to their inclusion while being physically included in a school. This is a questionnaire for
parents who have a child who has experienced barriers or obstacles to their inclusion at
school.

The wider study (of which this questionnaire is the first part) will include interviews
with parents and children/young people who have experienced barriers to being
included at school. The wider study may also include interviews with school principals,
teachers, teacher aides and children. If you choose to complete this questionnaire, this in
no way binds you to participate in any other aspect of the study (please see below for
more information about the remainder of the study). In particular, there is information
for those of you who may be interested in participating in a follow up interview)

It is hoped that this study can help to uncover the stories behind the barriers to school
inclusion for children and young people who are disabled, and make recommendations

264
about how these barriers can be eliminated thus improving the school experiences for
these people.

Project Procedures
The questionnaire should take approximately 10 - 20 minutes to complete. Once you
have completed this questionnaire, please click on the submit button at the end of the
questionnaire. This will send your responses to me via e mail. The data will be used to
formulate the interview questions (in the next phase of the study). Analysis of the data
will also be included in my final PhD thesis publication. This is an anonymous
questionnaire and no participants will be identified. Participants can also be assured that
the data obtained from this questionnaire will be stored (in print version) in a lockable
office. Data will be destroyed in five years from the collection date. The web page will
be taken off the world wide web on the 30 March 2005. If as a participant, you would
like a summarised copy of the findings from this section of the study, you can indicate
this at the bottom of the questionnaire. It should be noted that this will require providing
your name and contact details to me as the researcher.

Participants Rights
You are under no obligation to accept this invitation to complete this questionnaire. If
you choose to do this, you have the following rights as set out in the Massey University
Code of Ethical Conduct.
The right to:
decline to answer any particular question;
withdraw from the study (that is, ask for your responses to be withdrawn up to
one month from submitting the questionnaire);
ask any questions about the study at any time during participation (the
researchers contact details are provided on this web page);
provide information on the understanding that your name will not be used unless
you give permission to the researcher;
be given access to a summary of the project findings when it is concluded (you
have the opportunity to indicate at the end of the questionnaire if you would like
to be sent a summary of the questionnaire data)

This project has been reviewed and approved by the Massey University Human Ethics
Committee, Wellington Application 05/45. If you have any concerns about the ethics of
this research, please contact Professor Sylvia Rumball, Chair, Massey University
Campus Human Ethics Committee: WGTN telephone 06 350 5249 x 8635, email
humanethicspn@massey.ac.nz

Completing this questionnaire implies consent.

Researcher Supervisor
Alison Kearney Professor Ruth Kane
Senior Lecturer Massey University College of
Massey University College of Education Education,
Private Bag 11 222 Private Bag 11 222
Palmerston North Palmerston North
06 3569099 ext 8704 06 3569099 ext 8766
a.c.Kearney@massey.ac.nz R.Kane@massey.ac.nz

265
______________________________________________________________________
Questionnaire
This is a questionnaire about the barriers children who are disabled or experience
difficulties with learning and behaviour may have experienced in regards to being
included at school in New Zealand.
A barrier to school inclusion is anything that has acted as an obstacle, or
has got in the way of a child or young person participating as a valued and
accepted school member with equal access to all the things that happen at
school (such as learning experiences, resources, friendships, school and
class rewards, teacher time and so forth).

Statistical information about your child


Gender

Date of Birth

Area of need or disability (please tick one only thus indicating the main area of need)
Physical
Intellectual
Emotional
Hearing
Visual
Speech or communication
Behaviour
Multiple complex needs
Other (Please specify)

Does your child have other area of disability or need (not identified above as the
main area) (you may tick more than one)
Physical
Intellectual
Emotional
Hearing

266
Visual
Speech or communication
Behaviour
Other (please specify)

What level of schooling is your child involved in NOW?


Early childhood (for example kindergarten, playcentre, childcare centre )
Primary School
Kura Kaupapa Maori
Intermediate School
Secondary School
Not at school any more

Where were barriers to school inclusion experienced (you may tick more than one)
Early childhood (kindergarten, playcentre, childcare centre)
Primary School
Kura Kaupapa Mori
Intermediate School
Secondary School

Please indicate the period in which your child experienced barriers to their school
inclusion.
Prior to 1960 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s currently

Below are some of the common barriers to school inclusion. Please choose the TEN
you consider to be the major barriers your child has experienced to being included
at school
Lack of funding
Poor attitude of class teacher
Inadequate physical resources (such as a computer, or a standing frame)
Poor attitudes of the other students at the school
Poor attitudes of the other parents at the school
The teacher not giving my child enough of his or her time
Lack of teacher aide time

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Poor attitude of the school Principal
Inadequate school policy regarding the inclusion of children and young people
with special needs
The physical environment of the school
The physical environment of the classroom
Child not having friends
Lack of adaptation of my childs school work
Discrimination on the basis of their special need
My child not being valued by the school
My child not being wanted by the school
Being segregated from the regular class
Lack of caring by staff
Not enough pastoral support in the school
The actual disability of my child
Not including me as a parent (keeping me informed, welcoming me in the
school etc)
Too many children in my childs class
My child being treated unfairly by those in control at the school
My child being bullied or harassed
The teachers not being knowledgeable about the special needs of my child
Lack of school policies around meeting the needs of students with special needs
Focusing only on the things my child couldnt do
Other.(please specify)

Please comment briefly on the one barrier that you consider to be the most
powerful in acting as an obstacle to your childs inclusion at school.
What was this barrier?

How did your child experience it?

Can you give a specific example of what happened?

268
Is there anything else you would like to add about the barriers or obstacles your
child has experienced in terms being included in their school?

Would you like to be sent a summary of the findings of this questionnaire?


Yes (please provide an email or postal address)

No

Follow-up Interview
Would you be interested in participating in a follow-up interview?
This would take place at a time and place convenient to you (and may even be over the
phone if you would prefer). The interview would take from one to two hours and would
explore in more depth some of the points covered in this questionnaire. If you would be
willing to participate in a follow-up interview, please complete your contact details in
the space below. I will contact you within the next month.
I would like to take part in a follow-up interview
Name:

Address:

Phone number:
Researcher Supervisor
Alison Kearney Professor Ruth Kane
Senior Lecturer Massey University College of
Massey University College of Education Education,
Private Bag 11 222 Private Bag 11 222
Palmerston North Palmerston North
06 3569099 ext 8704 06 3569099 ext 8766
a.c.Kearney@massey.ac.nz R.Kane@massey.ac.nz

269
Appendix C2: Phase two school principal questionnaire

Barriers to School Inclusion:


Cultures, Policies and Practices

Principal Questionnaire

This is a questionnaire about the barriers to school inclusion for students who are
disabled, or who experience difficulties with learning and behaviour. It investigates the
beliefs, principles and practices of the school principal and the role of these in relation
to the inclusion or exclusion of these students. It is not about specific special needs of
students, but rather factors that may act to disadvantage or exclude these students. This
is an anonymous questionnaire, and respondents will not be identified. Completion and
return of the questionnaire implies consent.

The following terms are used in this questionnaire.

Disability: A restriction or disadvantage experienced by an individual with an


impairment.

Inclusion: Increasing the participation of students (especially those who have


historically been excluded or marginalized) in the cultures, curricula and communities
of their local school.

SECTION ONE (please circle answers)

1. Gender: Male Female

2. Age: 2030 3140 4150 5160 60+

3. Years teaching (including role of principal): 03 410 1120 20+

4. In which sector do you teach? Primary Intermediate Secondary

5. Did you train as a:


early childhood

primary

secondary teacher (circle one)


6. What is your highest tertiary qualification?
No tertiary qualification
Certificate
Diploma
Bachelors degree
Masters degree
Postgraduate certificate or diploma

270
PhD

SECTION TWO (please circle answers)

Please rate your level of familiarity with the following:

7. The legislation that supports the rights of students who are disabled to attend
their local school
Very familiar familiar a little familiar never heard
of it

8. The Government funding framework that sets out the resourcing support for
schools to meet the needs of students who are disabled
Very familiar familiar a little familiar never heard
of it

9. The New Zealand Disability Strategy


Very familiar familiar a little familiar never heard
of it

10. The National Education Guidelines relevant to students who are disabled
Very familiar familiar a little familiar never heard
of it

11. The National Administration Guidelines relevant to students who are disabled
Very familiar familiar a little familiar never heard
of it

12. The role of the Resource Teacher, Learning and Behaviour


Very familiar familiar a little familiar never heard
of it

13. The role of the Resource Teacher, Literacy


Very familiar familiar a little familiar never heard
of it

14. The supports available to help teachers meet the needs of students who are
disabled
Very familiar familiar a little familiar never heard
of it

15. Your school policy regarding meeting the needs of students who are disabled
Very familiar familiar a little familiar never heard
of it

16. An understanding of the theories behind how students learn


Very familiar familiar a little familiar never heard
of it

271
17. Supports available to help parents, caregivers and whnau who have children
who are disabled
Very familiar familiar a little familiar never heard
of it

18. Current principles and practices related to meeting the needs of students who
experience difficulties with their behaviour
Very familiar familiar a little familiar never heard
of it

19. Current principles and practices related to meeting the needs of students who
experience difficulties with their learning
Very familiar familiar a little familiar never heard
of it

20. Practices to adapt the curriculum to meet the needs of students who are disabled
Very familiar familiar a little familiar never heard
of it

21. The concept/philosophy of inclusion


Very familiar familiar a little familiar never heard
of it

SECTION THREE (please circle answers)

Please rate your level of agreement with the following statements:

22. All students can learn


Strongly agree agree uncertain disagree strongly disagree

23. There are some students who need special treatment and this cannot be provided
in this school
Strongly agree agree uncertain disagree strongly disagree

24. I feel that I have the knowledge and skills to lead a school that can meet the
needs of all learners.
Strongly agree agree uncertain disagree strongly disagree

25. It is the classroom teachers job to report to parents of all children in their class
Strongly agree agree uncertain disagree strongly disagree

26. Regular schools can meet the needs of all students who are disabled
Strongly agree agree uncertain disagree strongly disagree

27. Regular schools should meet the needs of all students who are disabled
Strongly agree agree uncertain disagree strongly disagree

28. Teachers have an obligation to nondisabled students first and foremost

272
Strongly agree agree uncertain disagree strongly disagree

29. Parents of disabled and nondisabled children are given the same rights and
respect in this school
Strongly agree agree uncertain disagree strongly disagree

30. Students who experience difficulty at school often do so because of their own
shortcomings
Strongly agree agree uncertain disagree strongly disagree

31. It is the role of the classroom teacher to meet the needs of all learners
Strongly agree agree uncertain disagree strongly disagree

32. Teaching is a solitary activity


Strongly agree agree uncertain disagree strongly disagree

33. The main role of a classroom teacher is to impart knowledge


Strongly agree agree uncertain disagree strongly disagree

34. Teachers must be prepared to meet the needs of all learners on their own without
the help of other professionals
Strongly agree agree uncertain disagree strongly disagree

35. There are clearly defined groups of students, those with special needs and those
without special needs
Strongly agree agree uncertain disagree strongly disagree

36. At this school, some students are more valuable to us than others
Strongly agree agree uncertain disagree strongly disagree

37. I feel justified in denying school attendance to those students who need, but do
not have, teacher aide support
Strongly agree agree uncertain disagree strongly disagree

38. At this school, some students hold more status than others
Strongly agree agree uncertain disagree strongly disagree

39. Except for enrolment and zoning policies, all students are welcome to attend this
school
Strongly agree agree uncertain disagree strongly disagree

40. Some parents at this school do not want students who are disabled in their
childs class
Strongly agree agree uncertain disagree strongly disagree

41. The professional development of teachers is given a strong emphasis at this


school
Strongly agree agree uncertain disagree strongly disagree

273
42. At this school, the main style of teaching is expository (learn by doing) rather
than narrative (learn by telling and listening)
Strongly agree agree uncertain disagree strongly disagree

43. Students who are disabled are welcome at this school


Strongly agree agree uncertain disagree strongly disagree

44. Students who experience difficulties with learning are welcome at this school
Strongly agree agree uncertain disagree strongly disagree

45. Students who experience difficulties with behaviour are welcome at this school
Strongly agree agree uncertain disagree strongly disagree

46. When it comes to meeting the needs of students who are disabled, the main
focus is on increasing the capacity/capability of the teachers and the school
Strongly agree agree uncertain disagree strongly disagree

47. Our school has made a conscious effort to identify and address the barriers to the
learning and participation of minority ethnic groups
Strongly agree agree uncertain disagree strongly disagree

48. Our school has made a conscious effort to identify and address the barriers to the
learning and participation of disabled students
Strongly agree agree uncertain disagree strongly disagree

49. Our school has made a conscious effort to identify and address the barriers to the
learning and participation of gifted students
Strongly agree agree uncertain disagree strongly disagree

50. At this school the main role of a teacher aide working with a learner is to
encourage independence and selfregulated learning
Strongly agree agree uncertain disagree strongly disagree

51. This school has active policies and practices to reduce bullying
Strongly agree agree uncertain disagree strongly disagree

52. Compared to other schools in out local communities, we have more students
who are disabled or who have difficulties with learning and behaviour
Strongly agree agree uncertain disagree strongly disagree

53. This school is a magnet school for students who are disabled or who experience
difficulties with learning and behaviour
Strongly agree agree uncertain disagree strongly disagree

SECTION FOUR (please circle answers)

Please indicate the level of frequency of the following:

274
54. I would have contact with all parents of children in our school at least once a
year
Often sometimes seldom never

55. I enjoy having parents come into our school


Often sometimes seldom never

56. I encourage resource teachers to come into our school (e.g. RTLB)
Often sometimes seldom never

57. Teachers at this school make adaptations to the curriculum to meet the diverse
needs of the students in their class
Often sometimes seldom never

58. I enjoy working with other professionals (for example psychologists, special
needs advisors)
Often sometimes seldom never

59. I ask colleagues for their opinions and advice


Often sometimes seldom never

60. I take all opportunities offered to me to improve my practice


Often sometimes seldom never
61. Teacher to teacher bullying occurs in our school
Often sometimes seldom never

62. Teacher to student bullying occurs in our school


Often sometimes seldom never

63. Student to student bullying occurs in our school


Often sometimes seldom never

64. Teachers at this school use a range of teaching strategies (for example,
cooperative learning, action learning, problem based learning, chalk and talk, discovery
based learning)
Often sometimes seldom never

65. I have advised some parents that their children would be better served at schools
other than this one
Often sometimes seldom never

66. At this school we make a deliberate attempt to increase the participation of


students from backgrounds different to the majority
Often sometimes seldom never

67. At this school we make links between the childs learning within the classroom
to their world outside the school.
Often sometimes seldom never

275
SECTION FIVE (please circle answers)

In relation to students who are disabled, how important are the following for the
success of inclusion?

68. Funding
Vital Very important Important Not important

69. The attitude of the School Principal


Vital Very important Important Not important

70. The attitude of the class teacher


Vital Very important Important Not important

71. The knowledge and skills of the classroom teacher


Vital Very important Important Not important

72. The provision of Teacher Aides


Vital Very important Important Not important

73. Making adaptations to the curriculum


Vital Very important Important Not important

74. A school climate that is accepting of difference


Vital Very important Important Not important

75. Please rate the following factors in order of importance. 1 being the most
important factor for inclusion, 7 being the least important.

_____ Funding
_____ The attitude of the School Principal
_____ The attitude of the class teacher
_____ The knowledge and skills of the classroom teacher
_____ The provision of Teacher Aides
_____ Making adaptations to the curriculum
_____ A school climate that is accepting of difference

76. Any other comments?

276
Followup Interview:

Would you be prepared to participate in a followup interview?

This would take place at a time and place convenient to you and may even be over the
phone if you would prefer. The interview would take one hour and would explore in
more depth some of the points covered in this questionnaire.

If you would be willing to participate in a followup interview, please complete your


contact details in the space below. I will contact you within the next month.

I would be willing to participate in a followup interview: yes

Name:
Name of School:
Address of School:

Phone Number of School:


Email Address:

277
Appendix D: Interview Schedules
Appendix D1: Phase one parent interview schedule

Barriers to School Inclusion: Cultures, Policies and Practices


Phase One: Parent interview questions

This study is about inclusion and exclusion, and in particular, the barriers children who
are disabled or experience difficulties with learning and behaviour may experience in
their local mainstream school. These barriers I describe as forces of exclusion, as they
reduce the ability of children to participate in some, or many aspects school life. This
was described in the original web questionnaire as:

A barrier to school inclusion is anything that has acted as an obstacle, or has got in the
way of a child or young person participating as a valued and accepted school member
with equal access to all the things that happen at school such as learning experiences,
resources, friendships, school and class rewards, teacher time and so forth.

Question one
A confirmation of the statistical information about your child gathered from the web
questionnaire.
Gender
Age
Main area of disability or need
Geographical area

Question two
I would like to explore your understandings and opinions regarding the concept of
inclusion.
What does this mean to you?
Is inclusion something that is important to you in regards to your child at school?
Why/why not?

Question three
In the questionnaire, you identified the following barriers that your child experienced to
being included at school. First, I would like to take the barrier that you identified as the
main barrier and have you elaborate on how you and your child experienced this. Then I
will read out the other barriers you identified and ask you to elaborate on some of your
choosing.

The main barrier identified in the questionnaire was:

.
How was this experienced?
Did the school justify this barrier? If so, how?
What were the repercussions of this barrier?
What could have made the situation better?

278
The other barriers you identified in the questionnaire were:

.
(show parent)
These were some of the other barriers you indicated in the questionnaire that your child
had experienced. Can you choose one and talk about:
How was this experienced?
Did the school justify this barrier? If so, how?
What were the repercussions of this barrier?
What could have made the situation better?

Question four
Do you have any other comments you wish to make about the barriers you and your
child experienced to their inclusion at school.

279
Appendix D2: Phase two school principal interview schedule

Inclusion (General)
What does inclusion mean to you?

Many countries around the world are pursuing a model of inclusive education. Why do
you think this is?

What are your views about the inclusion of students who are disabled or who
experience difficulty with learning and/or behaviour?

Are there any instances when inclusion is just not possible?

What do you think are the important things that need to happen in order for inclusion to
be a reality for students who are disabled or who experience difficulty with learning and
behaviour?

Is this a reality at this school?

Barriers to Inclusion
In this study, I am using the following definition of a barrier to inclusion

A barrier to school inclusion is anything that has acted as an obstacle, or


has got in the way of a child or young person participating as a valued and
accepted school member with equal access to all the things that happen at
school (such as learning experiences, resources, friendships, school and
class rewards, teacher time and so forth).

What do you think are the main barriers that get in the way of students who are disabled
or who experience difficulty with learning and behaviour being included in regular
schools?

Do any of these things occur at your school?

Are there any pressures upon schools not to be inclusive? (what where do these
pressures come from, why?)

Enablers to Inclusion

As the opposite to barriers, what do you think are the enablers to inclusion?

Do any of these things occur at your school?

In the questionnaire, you identified some other factors as being important for inclusion
(choose factors that have not been discussed). Can you clarify and expand your points
here?

Are there any pressures upon schools to be inclusive? (what where do these pressures
come from, why?)

280
Contextual
Obviously, schools have limited resources and funding. What happens when there are
limited resources and funding? How are decisions made about who or what will be
funded? How do you as a school principal make these decisions? Are some things more
worthy of funding and resourcing?

What is the role of parents in your school? Is there a link between inclusion and
relationships with parents?

What is the role of teacher aides in your school? Is there a link between inclusion and
the use of teacher aides?

The National Administration Guidelines (1) state that:


on the basis of good quality assessment information, schools need to identify students
and groups of students who are not achieving, who are at risk of not achieving or who
have special needs. How does your school do this?

Does your school have a policy regarding meeting the needs of students who are
disabled or who experience difficulties with learning and behaviour? Is this a policy that
most teachers would be familiar with?

Bullying do you think this is this an issue for inclusive education?

Do you have any other comments you wish to make?

281
Appendix D3: Phase three teacher interview schedule

Inclusion (General)
What does inclusion mean to you?

Many countries around the world are pursuing a model of inclusive education. Why do
you think this is?

What are your views about the inclusion of students who are disabled or who
experience difficulty with learning and/or behaviour?

Are there any instances when inclusion is just not possible?

What do you think are the important things that need to happen in order for inclusion to
be a reality for students who are disabled or who experience difficulty with learning and
behaviour?

Is this a reality at this school?

Barriers and Enablers to Inclusion


In this study, I am using the following definition of a barrier to inclusion

A barrier to school inclusion is anything that has acted as an obstacle, or


has got in the way of a child or young person participating as a valued and
accepted school member with equal access to all the things that happen at
school (such as learning experiences, resources, friendships, school and
class rewards, teacher time and so forth).

What do you think are the main barriers that get in the way of students who are disabled
or who experience difficulty with learning and behaviour being included in regular
schools?

Do these things occur in this school, or are these things present in this school?

Are there any pressures upon schools not to be inclusive? (what where do these
pressures come from, why?)

What are some of the enablers of inclusive education?

Do these things occur in this school, or are these things present in this school?

Teacher Knowledge and Confidence


What is your understanding of the concept of inclusive education?

How knowledgeable do you think you are in relation to successfully including students
who are disabled or who experience difficulties with learning and behaviour?

How confident do you think you are in relation to successfully including students who
are disabled or experience difficulties with learning and behaviour?

282
Contextual
Is there any relationship between inclusion and resourcing/funding?

What is the role of parents in this school? Is there a link between inclusion and
relationships with parents?

What is the role of teacher aides in this school? Is there a link between inclusion and the
use of teacher aides?

Bullying is this an issue for inclusive education?

Are there any other comments you wish to make?

283
Appendix D4: Phase three teacher aide focus group interview schedule

The role of the teacher aide


Can you talk to me about the work that you do in the school?

Inclusion (General)
What does inclusion mean to you?

What are your views about the inclusion of students who are disabled or who
experience difficulty with learning and/or behaviour?

Are there any instances when inclusion is just not possible?

Barriers and Enablers to Inclusion


In this study, I am using the following definition of a barrier to inclusion:

A barrier to school inclusion is anything that has acted as an obstacle, or


has got in the way of a child or young person participating as a valued and
accepted school member with equal access to all the things that happen at
school (such as learning experiences, resources, friendships, school and
class rewards, teacher time and so forth).

What do you think are the main barriers that get in the way of students who are disabled
or who experience difficulty with learning and behaviour being included in regular
schools?

Do these things occur in this school, or are these things present in this school?

What are some of the enablers of inclusive education?

Do these things occur in this school, or are these things present in this school?

Teacher Knowledge and Confidence


Do you think that regular teachers are adequately trained to meet the needs of disabled
students or students who experience difficulties with learning and behaviour?

Contextual
Is there any relationship between inclusion and resourcing/funding?

Bullying is this an issue for inclusive education?

Are there any other comments you wish to make?

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Appendix D5: Phase three student focus group interview schedule

First of all I would like to hear what you have to say about your school. What is your
school like?

What are the teachers like?

What is the work like?

What about the kids at this school. What are they like?

Are there certain types of kids who are treated differently at this school?

Lets talk about this thing called inclusion. Is this something that any of you know
about?

What do you think about the idea of including kids who experience difficulties with
their learning and behaviour, or kids who are disabled in regular schools? (sometimes
these kids are called kids with special needs)
What are some of the good things?
What are some of the not so good things?

Do you like having these kids at your school?

How are these kids treated in this school?

What do you think are the important things that need to happen at school for these kids?
How could things be better for these kids?

Does this happen at this school?

What does it mean to have special needs?

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Appendix E: Consent Forms
Appendix E1: All phases parent/principal/teacher interview consent form

Barriers to School Inclusion: Cultures, Policies and


Practices
PARTICIPANT CONSENT FORM

This consent form will be held for a period of five years

I have read the Information Sheet and have had the details of the study explained to me.

My questions have been answered to my satisfaction, and I understand that I may ask
further questions at any time.

I agree/do not agree to the interview being audio taped.

I wish/do not wish to have my tapes returned to me.

I agree to participate in this study under the conditions set out in the Information Sheet.

Signature: Date:

Full Name printed

286
Appendix E2: Phase one child interview consent form

Barriers to School Inclusion: Cultures, Policies and


Practices
CHILD/YOUNG PERSON CONSENT FORM

This consent form will be held for a period of five years

I have read or listened to the information about this study

My questions have been answered to my satisfaction, and I understand that I may ask
further questions at any time.

I agree/do not agree to the interview being audio taped.

I wish/do not wish to have my tapes returned to me.

I agree to participate in this study under the conditions set out in the Information Sheet.

Signature: Date:

Full Name printed

287
Appendix E3: Phase three teacher aide focus group consent form

Barriers to School Inclusion: Cultures, Policies and


Practices
PARTICIPANT CONSENT FORM
TEACHER AIDE FOCUS GROUP INTERVIEW

This consent form will be held for a period of five years

I have read the Information Sheet and have had the details of the study explained to me.

My questions have been answered to my satisfaction, and I understand that I may ask
further questions at any time.

I agree/do not agree to the interview being audio taped.

I agree to participate in this study under the conditions set out in the Information Sheet.

Signature: Date:

Full Name printed

288
Appendix E4: Phase three parent consent form for childs participation in
the student focus group

Barriers to School Inclusion: Cultures, Policies and Practices

PARENT CONSENT FORM


STUDENT FOCUS GROUP

This consent form will be held for a period of five years

I have read the Information Sheet and have had the details of the study explained to me.

My questions have been answered to my satisfaction, and I understand that I may ask
further questions at any time.

I agree for my child to take in this study under the conditions that were explained to me
in the Information Sheet.

Name of child:

Name of parent/guardian:..

Signature: Date:

PLEASE RETURN IN ENVELOPE PROVIDED TO EITHER THE SCHOOL


OFFICE, OR VIA A NZ POST BOX. THE POSTAGE HAS BEEN PAID, SO
YOU DO NOT NEED A STAMP.

289
Appendix E5: Phase three student focus group consent form

Barriers to School Inclusion: Cultures, Policies and Practices

PARENT CONSENT FORM


STUDENT FOCUS GROUP

This consent form will be held for a period of five years

I have read the Information Sheet and have had the details of the study explained to me.

My questions have been answered to my satisfaction, and I understand that I may ask
further questions at any time.

I agree/do not agree to the interview being audio taped.

I agree to participate in this study under the conditions set out in the Information Sheet.

Signature: Date:

Full Name printed

290
Appendix F: Letters
Appendix F1: Phase one letter to parents requesting follow-up interview

20 February, 2006.

Dear

Last year, you completed an on-line questionnaire looking into barriers to school
inclusion for learners who are disabled, or who experience difficulties with learning
and/or behaviour. Many thanks for taking the time to do this. I have received over 60
responses from parents, all with interesting stories to tell of the barriers they have
experienced in trying to get their child included in mainstream schools. I hope to have
all this collated soon, and a summary of the findings will be sent out to you if you
indicated your interest in this.

At the end of the questionnaire, you indicated your willingness to participate in a follow
up interview. Thank you for offering to do this. I would very much like to complete a
follow up interview with you. I have enclosed an information sheet about the research,
and a copy of the questions that I would like to ask you in the interview.

With your permission, I would also like to interview your child. To do this, I would first
seek your informed consent, then, the informed consent of your child. However, even if
you do not consent to your child being interviewed, I would still be interested in talking
with you.

If you are still prepared to be interviewed (at a time and place to suit you) I have
enclosed a sheet that I would ask you to complete and return to me. This sheet
ascertains if you are still willing to accept the invitation to participate in an interview.
Please return this sheet to me in the enclosed envelope as soon as possible. I look
forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards

Alison Kearney

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Appendix F2: Phase one letter to parents with copy of interview transcript

School of Curriculum and Pedagogy


Massey University College of Education
Private Bag 11222
Palmerston North

14 February 2007

Dear [name of parent],

During 2005, you agreed to take part in my PhD study looking at barriers to the school
inclusion of learners who are disabled, or who experience difficulties with learning
and/or behaviour, and you kindly participated in an interview with me. First of all, my
sincere apologies for not being in contact with you for so long. You may have begun to
wonder if I was still working on this project, but the answer is yes! I have transcribed all
the interviews, and enclosed a copy of your interview transcript. I have sent you a copy
of your interview transcript for you to look at (if you wish) and/or just to have as a
record of what was said. After reading through the transcript, you may feel that there
are some things that you would prefer to delete. If this is so, I have enclosed a stamped
self-addressed envelope for you to post the transcript back to me with your changes on
it. I will then make the changes, and send it back to you.

Just to clarify how I am going to use this information. I will be looking through all the
interview transcripts to identify important points related to the barriers children have
experienced. I will place a code next to each point or theme. These points and themes
will provide the basis of my discussion in my PhD report. For example, one of the
themes that appear to be common in many of the interviews is a lack of teacher and
school principal knowledge. This will certainly be a major theme in my report. When I
discuss each theme, I will use one or two quotes from the interviews to support my
discussion. No quotes will be used that can identify people in any way. No names of
parents, children, teachers, principals or schools will be used.

Also, for your interest, I have continued to work on another avenue for my PhD. I have
used a questionnaire to gain information from school principals regarding their views on
inclusion and exclusion and I will be interviewing ten school principals this term. I hope
to have the PhD completed in draft form by the end of next year. Please keep in touch if
you would like to see some/all of this. I think about you all a lot, and listening to your
experiences has really improved my teaching in regards to preparing student teachers
for the real world of inclusion, so many thanks for that, you have made a difference!

292
I have another request please. I would like to develop a teaching CD that records some
of the comments and phrases that came out of the interviews I conducted with you and
the other parents. These will be recorded onto the CD and used for teaching purposes
with teacher trainees, trainee psychologists, and other people training to take up
professional positions in education. I would not use your voice from the tape, but ask
friends and colleagues to read passages onto tape for me (of course the passages they
read from would not identify you in any way). As with my PhD report, no names of
parents, children, teachers, principals or schools will be used. The development of this
CD is part of a wider project (called FIET) with three other colleagues from the College
of Education. One of these colleagues, Mandia Mentis has a funding source to develop
digital teaching resources for use at the College of Education. I am hoping that my
contribution to this project could be a teaching CD promoting the voice of parents and
children who are disabled or experience difficulties with learning and behaviour.

If you are in agreement for some of the comments you made in our interview to be used
in this way, could you please sign the consent form attached to this letter and return it to
me in the stamped self addressed envelope provided. Again, I feel that the things you
shared with me could be used in a positive way to improve the educational experiences
for children who are disabled or who experience difficulties with learning and
behaviour. If I do not hear back from you, you can rest assured that I will not be using
your comments in any way attached with this CD project. If you would like further
information about this project, please dont hesitate to contact me.

Kind regards

Alison Kearney

293
Appendix F3: Phase one letter to parents providing results of phase one

Barriers to School Inclusion: Cultures, Policies and Practices

Results from Phase One Questionnaire

Early in 2005, you were one of 63 people who completed a web questionnaire related to
barriers to school inclusion of children and young people who are disabled or who
experience difficulties with learning and behaviour. The questionnaire was part of a
larger study examining barriers to school inclusion. You indicated that you would be
interested in a summary of the findings, and these can be found attached to this letter.

Many thanks for your valuable input to this study. The study is still on-going, and,
following the web questionnaire, 12 parents were interviewed (from all parts of New
Zealand). The final phase of the research is taking place in schools, where observations
and interviews with teachers will be conducted. It is hoped that the final data will be
used to inform practice, with the hope of reducing and eliminating forces of exclusion
that can be experienced at school by children and young people who are disabled or
who experience difficulties with learning and behaviour.

Do not hesitate to keep in touch with me if you would like further, or on-going
information about this study. My contact details are:

Alison Kearney
School of Curriculum and Pedagogy
Massey University College of Education
Private Bag 11222
Palmerston North
a.c.kearney@massey.ac.nz

Kind regards

Alison Kearney

294
During February and March of 2005, 63 parents and/or caregivers of children who are
disabled or who experience difficulties with learning and behaviour, completed a web
questionnaire looking at barriers to school inclusion.

Demographic Data
The following four tables set out the demographic data:

Table 1. Gender
Gender Frequency Percent
Male 48 76
Female 15 24

Table 2. Main area of need or disability


Main Area of Need/Disability Frequency Percent
Intellectual 19 30
Asperger 9 14
Behaviour 8 13
Autism 6 9
Speech and/or communication 5 8
Multiple/complex needs 5 8
Physical 3 5
Emotional 3 5
Hearing 2 3
Social 2 3
Visual 1 2
TOTAL 63 100
(Note: Asperger Syndrome and Autism, while not provided as choices in the questionnaire, where
specified by a significant number of respondents, therefore have been entered in Table 2).

Table 3. Present level of schooling


Present Level of Schooling Frequency Percent
Primary 34 54
Intermediate 10 16
Secondary 14 22
Special School 1 6
Not at school anymore 4 2
TOTAL 63 100

Table 4. Geographical area where barriers were experienced


Geographical Area Frequency Percent
Wellington 17 27
Auckland 9 14
Bay of Plenty 8 13
Manawatu/Wanganui 7 11
Hawkes Bay 5 8
Otago 5 8
Nelson 3 5
Canterbury 3 5

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Southland 2 3
Wairarapa 1 1.5
Northland 1 1.5
Waikato 1 1.5
Not stated 1 1.5
TOTAL 63 100

Common Barriers Experienced


Respondents were asked to choose, from a list of 27 common barriers, up to ten barriers
their child had experienced to being included at school. Table 5 summarizes this data.

Table 5: Most common barriers experienced


Responses
Common Barriers Frequency Percent
Teachers not being knowledgeable about the 43 69
special needs of my child
Lack of funding 37 60
Lack of teacher aide time 35 57
Poor attitude of class teacher 33 53
Poor attitude of the school principal 30 48
Lack of adaptation of my childs school work 25 40
My child being bullied or harassed 24 39
Lack of school policies around meeting the 24 39
needs of students with special needs
Discrimination on the basis of their special 22 36
need
Inadequate school policy on inclusion 20 32
Child not having friends 19 31
Poor attitudes of the other students at the school 18 29
Not including me as a parent 18 29
The teacher not giving my child enough of their 16 26
time
The actual disability of my child 15 24
Being segregated from the regular class 14 23
My child not being wanted by the school 14 23
My child being treated unfairly by those in 13 21
control at the school
My child not being valued by the school 13 21
The physical environment of the classroom 12 19
Lack of caring by staff 12 19
Focusing only on the things by child couldnt 12 19
do
Too many children in my childs class 11 18
Inadequate physical resources 10 16
The physical environment of the school 10 16
Poor attitudes of the other parents at the school 9 15
Not enough pastoral support in the school 3 5

296
When data from Table 5 was analysed, there were three main foci to the barriers, these
were:
Factors associated with funding and/or resources (such as Teacher Aide time)
Factors associated with teachers/principals (such as poor attitudes and lack of
knowledge)
Factors associated with the context of the school (such as school policy, the
physical environment and bullying).
Figure 1 displays this data.

Focus of Common Barriers

Figure 1: Focus of common barriers

Main Barriers to Inclusion


Respondents were asked to nominate the ONE barrier that had been experienced the
most by their child. Table 6 outlines this data:

Table 6. Main barrier


Main barrier Frequency Percent
Lack of teacher/principal knowledge and/or understanding 26 41
Poor attitude of the teacher/principal 8 13
Lack of funding and/or resourcing 12 19
Lack of teacher aide time 7 11
Bullying 6 10
Other 4 6
TOTAL 63 100

As with the previous question, when respondents were asked to identify ten barriers
most commonly experienced, the most common barrier experienced was associated
with the teacher and/or principal. (86%). This was followed by funding and resourcing
barriers (48%) and contextual issues such as bullying and lack of adaptation (16%).

297
The following are some indicative comments from respondents, organised under each of
these categories:

Lack of teacher and/or principal knowledge and/or understanding


Lack of teacher knowledge about how to handle children with ADHD and
Aspergers Syndrome. [name of child] was excluded from other children and
stuck in a corner with the teacher aide. Was not taught in a method which he
could understand.

Had major problems at [name of class] due to the teachers style of teaching,
yelling, time pressure, refusing to repeat instructions I am sure that other
children would have difficulty with this teachers style too.

Lack of understanding of my sons disability. Reluctance of the staff of the


school to access support and specialist knowledge.

The teachers not being knowledgeable about the special needs of my child. This
was experienced by a bullying, patronizing attitude from the principal, not
really getting to the bottom of the issues.

Treated unfairly by those in control. Lack of caring by staff, not enough friends,
etcthe principal wrote to us and said that inclusion was not an option at
[name of school].

IGNORANCE,IGNORANCE, IGNORANCE what can I say, everything stems


from ignorance. This barrier was experienced in the way she was dealt with by
staff, how they attended to problems that surfaced, their reluctance to do
anything to help, their unwillingness to step outside their comfort zone, their
inability/unwillingness to understand her difficulties.

Classroom teachers attitude. No school work was set by the classroom teacher.
The teacher would not read any material on his disability even though
ample was supplied nor address the issue of her responsibility to teach our son
or adapt any curriculum material. Any issues were also attributed to our son,
not stemming from the class teacher his peer group took over his teaching in
the afternoon by sharing work and reading storieshe resorted to running away
when he was not included. The things that he loved and was good at were
scheduled to happen in the class when he was not there. This showed a lack of
consideration of where he could fit in easily in the classThe class teacher
didnt believe that he could academically achieve although this was already well
establishedOther comments from the teacher were He will have to go
home when the teacher aide does because he takes too much to keep an eye on
Ive got the other children to consider he cant really do maths with the other
children because he cant do fractions yet There was no progress reports or
end of year portfolio collated for our son.

Lack of recognition by the classroom teacher on the need to modify curriculum


to include our child in similar activities to those the other children were doing.

298
Child going off on his own to do other activities. Being grouped and
timetabled with other children with special needs.

Teachers intolerance of my childs special needs and constantly criticizing him.


Also abusing any child who tried to help him. The teacher criticizing my child
for minor things like putting his fingers in his mouth and teaching other kids to
pick on him as well by modeling her attitude. For example once my son walked
into class with me and was apprehensive so put his fingers in his mouth the
teacher said loudly ooooohhh [sons name] other kids echoed her - oooohhh
(in revulsion) yuk etc and all physically moved away from him when he sat
down.

It is the whole combination of attitude, exclusion and discrimination that leads a


child from having one disability to having multiple disabilities as in a lack of
emotional development, self-esteem, confidence, ability to communicate, ability
to learn and ability to participate which collectively leads to problems carried
through to adult life. The negative attitude towards our child created the school
culture that allowed discrimination and bullying (a learnt behaviour). It was not
part of the school culture for our child to be valued or wanted. This situation
can only evolve because there is an attitude to allow it to happen or to deny it is
happening.

Funding and Resourcing Barriers


The principal kept trying to divert funds allocated to the school for my child into
other areas of the school.

Lack of teacher aide funding and lack of commitment by the school to assist with
this. Child was only able to be at school 12 hours per week, was unable to
attend school without a teacher aide.

Lack of financial resource to give our child the support he needs, government
policies which encourage mainstreaming and deliver main dreaming.
Everything is hard work and is difficult for the child, the family, the principal
and teachers. It is very difficult for anyone to do the job they want to when there
is not the financial resource to do so. We are currently considering a satellite
class through a special needs school as the school has indicated its concern with
ongoing resourcing and ability to meet our sons needs.

Government policy without ORRS there was no access to specialist teacher


time and very limited teacher aide support. Child unable to participate in
classroom activities left to do nothing resulting in severe anxiety, depression
and loss of self esteem.

The disproportion of funding allocated to children with moderate to high needs


in contrast to children with very high needs. My childs initial teacher aide time
was redirected to existing children with very high needs as deemed appropriate
by the principal.

299
Insufficient teacher aide funding so that [name of child] was unable to attend
full time until we started topping it up ourselves. On different school days, he
missed out on afternoon activities.

Contextual Issues
Being bullied at school. Being excluded form an area in the school grounds.

Bullying by other students. He was very frightened, humiliated, lost even more
self-esteem, became distracted and unable to work even the in the classroom. He
was very unhappy. In the space of 6 weeks, he had his head pounded in the
ground, lip split, nose punched, pushed off a moving bus as well as the usual
name calling, stone throwing and being spat at. I was told that he could not be
treated any differently to anyone else and that the injuries in the playground
were his own fault, due to his behaviour.

The bullying and harassing was done by the classroom teacher. Tolerance
among the teaching staff and principal of inappropriate behaviour towards my
daughter e.g. throwing a pen that hit my daughter, kicking her chair while
seated on it, pushing her out a door, yelling at her for no reason.

Bullying. Physical - Being hung up on a peg in the cloakroom, ridiculed,


shunned, having his lunch squashed, having his personal items stolen or
wrecked, clothes ripped. Emotional being shunned by peers, laughed at etc.

Not having friends. Spent playtimes and lunch times on her own. She became
very unhappy to the point of my removing her from the school. One of her IEP
objectives - and to me an extremely important one- was that a buddy system be
set in place. This never happened.

300
Appendix F4: Phase two letter to principals requesting completion of
questionnaire

2 October, 2006.

Dear Principal

Are you interested in breaking down barriers to the inclusion of learners who are
disabled or experience difficulties with learning and behaviour?

If so, you may be willing to complete the attached questionnaire. My name is Alison
Kearney and I am a senior lecturer at Massey University College of Education where I
am involved in teaching in the pre-service teacher education programme. Prior to taking
up this position at Massey University I was a classroom teacher for 15 years, a Resource
Teacher of Special Needs and a Guidance and Learning Teacher. This research is part of
my PhD study looking into barriers to the inclusion of learners who are disabled and
factors that act to exclude and marginalize these students. I have already conducted the
first two phases of this research where I invited parents of disabled children to complete
a web questionnaire. This questionnaire identified specific barriers that children had
experienced to being included at school. I then went on and interviewed approximately
twelve parents all around New Zealand, exploring in more depth some of the issues that
they had raised.

I would now like to look at the issues raised from within the school. The first stage of
this involves a questionnaire for school principals. Would you be able to assist me in
this research by completing the attached questionnaire? This should take between 30 -
40 minutes. I have attached an information sheet that outlines the nature of the research
project. The second stage of the process involves an interview with consenting school
principals, however, completing this questionnaire does not imply a willingness to
participate in the follow-up interview. Therefore, even if you do not want to participate
in an interview, I would still appreciate you taking the time to complete the
questionnaire.

At the end of the questionnaire, there is a section to complete if you would be prepared
to participate in a follow-up interview.

Kind regards

Alison Kearney
Senior Lecturer
School of Curriculum and Pedagogy
Massey University College of Education
Private Bag 11222
Palmerston North
06 3569099 ext 8704
a.c.kearney@massey.ac.nz

301
Appendix F5: Phase two letter to school principals requesting follow-up
interview

23 February 2007.

The Principal
[Address of school]

Dear [name of school principal],


Last year, you very kindly completed a questionnaire looking at barriers to the school
inclusion of students who are disabled, or sho experience difficulties with learning and
behaviour. This questionnaire was part of my PhD study. Many thanks for the time you
took to complete this questionnaire. I am aware of the time pressures upon school
principals and also the number of research projects that come over their desks each
week! The information that I have gathered from school principals has been a very
valuable part of my study and has strengthened it enormously.

At the end of the questionnaire, you indicated that you would be prepared to participate
in a follow up interview. I am hoping that you are still able to do this. I am able to fit
into any time that suits you best. The interview can be at a place of your choosing (for
example at your school), or over the phone if you prefer. I envisage the interview taking
up to an hour. I have attached an information sheet about my research for your
information.

Would you be so kind as to send the reply sheet back to me in the reply paid envelope
indicating times and dates that you are available. I really look forward to talking to you
soon.

Kind regards

Alison Kearney

302
Barriers to School Inclusion: Cultures, Policies and Practices

School Principal Interviews

Name:

School:

Phone Number:

e mail:

The following interview times would suit me:

First preference Day Date Time

Second preference Day Date Time

Third preference Day Date Time

I would prefer:

Face to face interview

Telephone interview

I have no preference

303
Appendix F6: Phase two letter to school principals with interview transcript

September, 2008.

School of Curriculum and Pedagogy


Massey University College of Education
Private Bag 11222
Palmerston North

Dear [name of school principal],

During 2007, you agreed to take part in my PhD study looking at barriers to school
inclusion for learners who are disabled, or who experience difficulties with learning and
behaviour, and you kindly participated in an interview with me.

I am in the last stages of this study now, and one of the things that I have been doing is
collating all the correspondence from the last three years together, to add to the
appendices section of the thesis. I have been unable to find the letter I thought I wrote to
all the school principals I interviewed, accompanying the return of their interview
transcript. This raises a doubt in my mind as to whether I returned your transcript to you
or not.

Therefore, I am returning your interview transcript to you now. If you have already
received a copy of this transcript, and had the opportunity to read it/change delete
anything, please ignore this letter. If you have not, please accept my apologies, and an
invitation for you to read through your transcript and make any alterations, additions or
deletions that you wish. I have enclosed a stamped self-addressed envelope for you to
send the amended transcript back to me if you want to make any changes. I will then
make the changes on the master copy, and the necessary changes to my results, and
send the transcript back to you.

For your information, I have developed what I hope will be useful prompts or indicators
for teachers and school principals that may break down the barriers experienced by
disabled students at school. I will be forwarding a copy of these to all participants early
next year.

If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Kind regards

Alison Kearney

304
Appendix F7: Phase three letter to school principal requesting school
participation

June 2007

The Principal
[address of school]

Dear [name of school principal],


Thanks for talking to me on the phone today. A brief reminder
My name is Alison Kearney and I am employed as a senior lecturer at Massey
University College of Education. Prior to taking up this position, I was a classroom
teacher, a Resource Teacher of Special Needs and a Guidance and Learning Teacher.

Recently, you kindly participated in an interview with me about barriers to the school
inclusion of learners who are disabled or who experience difficulties with learning and
behaviour. Many thanks for this. I am presently transcribing the interviews and will
send you a copy of the transcript in the next week or two.

I am writing to you with another request. For the final part of my study, I would like
interview teachers, teacher aides and a group of students. This would be to follow up on
their perspective of the themes that have been identified as barriers to school inclusion.
I am writing to ask if you may consider allowing me to do that in your school.

It is hoped that the research would be carried out over two weeks, beginning as soon as
possible.

I am particularly interested in identifying overt and covert exclusionary policies,


attitudes and practices.

What is in it for your school, the teachers and students?


If schools participate in this research they must be prepared to have overt and covert
exclusionary policies, attitudes and practices identified and discussed. This would
provide information the school could use to guide and focus future improvements for
disabled students and students who experience difficulties with learning and behaviour.

The overriding aim being to improve the school experiences of students who encounter
difficulties with learning and behaviour. Similarly, one of my driving principles in
relation to educational research is that there must be an advantage for those who give
their time, their opinions and their space. This includes principals, teachers and in
particular, the students themselves. Therefore, I intend to develop user friendly teacher
resources that identify the barriers to school inclusion for learners who are disabled, or
who experience difficulties with learning and behaviour and provide suggestions for

305
how these barriers may be overcome. I will be available to provide staff professional
development in this area if participating schools request it. I hope to publish the
findings of this research in teacher friendly New Zealand journals.

I am also available to come into your school and talk through my proposal with you and
your staff. I will phone you in the next few of days.

Kind regards

Alison Kearney
School of Curriculum and Pedagogy
Massey University College of Education
Private Bag 11222
Palmerston North
06 3569099 ext 8704
a.c.kearney@massey.ac.nz

BARRIERS TO SCHOOL INCLUSION:


CULTURES, POLICIES AND PRACTICES

Name of School:

School Address:.

School Phone No:..

I would like to discuss this proposal with you further

I would like you to come into the school and talk to my staff about this proposal.

This school is not able to participate in this research

Signed:

306
Appendix F8: Phase three letter to school Board of Trustees

June 2007.

The Chairperson
[name of school] School Board of Trustees

Dear [name of chairperson]

I have recently been in conversation with the principal of your school in relation to
research that I am hoping to carry out there. This research is entitled: Barriers to School
Inclusion: Cultures, Policies and Practices. It seeks to uncover the school factors that act
to exclude and marginalize students who are disabled, or who experience difficulties
with learning and/or behaviour, and if they are working within your school. Your
principal has agreed in principle for me to conduct my research in your school pending
approval from the Board of Trustees.

My name is Alison Kearney and I am a senior lecturer at Massey University College of


Education where I am involved in teaching in the pre-service teacher education
programme. Prior to taking up this position at Massey University I was a classroom
teacher for 15 years, a Resource Teacher of Special Needs and a Guidance and Learning
Teacher. This research is part of my PhD study looking into barriers to the inclusion of
learners who are disabled or who experience difficulties with learning and behaviour. I
have already conducted the first two phases of this research where I invited parents of
disabled children/children who experience difficulties with learning and behaviour to
complete a web questionnaire. This questionnaire identified specific barriers that
children had experienced to being included at school. I then interviewed approximately
twelve parents all around New Zealand, exploring in more depth some of the issues that
they had raised.

I would now like to look at the issue from the perspectives of those within a school. I
am particularly interested in answers to the following questions:

What are the barriers to mainstream school inclusion for disabled students?
Why do some schools erect barriers to the inclusion of disabled students?
How do schools erect barriers to the inclusion of disabled students?
What behaviours, beliefs, attitudes, norms and values are found in schools that
exclude and marginalize disabled students?
How can barriers to school inclusion be broken down?

Data would be gathered to answer these questions in three ways:


Semi structured interviews with some teachers
Focus group interviews with teacher aides

307
A focus group interview with a group of participating students over the age of
seven years.

I am particularly interested in identifying overt and covert exclusionary policies,


attitudes and practices.

What is in it for your school, the teachers and students?


If schools participate in this research they must be prepared to have overt and covert
exclusionary policies, attitudes and practices identified and discussed. This would
provide information the school could use to guide and focus future improvements for
disabled students.

The overriding aim being to improve the school experiences of students who encounter
difficulties with learning and behaviour. Similarly, one of my driving principles in
relation to educational research is that there must be an advantage for those who give
their time, their opinions and their space. This includes principals, teachers and in
particular, the students themselves. Therefore, I intend to develop user friendly teacher
resources that identify the barriers to school inclusion for learners who are disabled, or
who experience difficulties with learning and/or behaviour, and provide suggestions for
how these barriers may be overcome. I will be available to provide staff professional
development in this area if participating schools request it. I hope to publish the
findings of this research in teacher friendly New Zealand journals.

I am available to discuss this proposal with you if you require. My contact details are
printed below. Whatever your decision regarding this, would you please complete the
form below and return to me in the attached reply paid envelope. I look forward to
hearing from you in the near future.

Kind regards

Alison Kearney
School of Curriculum and Pedagogy
Massey University College of Education
Private Bag 11222
Palmerston North
06 3569099 ext 8704
a.c.kearney@massey.ac.nz

Supervisors:
Dr Jill Bevan-Brown Dr Roseanna Bourke
School of Curriculum and Pedagogy Centre for Educational Research
Massey University College of Education Massey University College of Education
Private Bag 11222 Private Bag 11222
Palmerston North Palmerston North
Ph 06 3569099 ext 8764 Ph 06 3569099 ext 8304

308
Name of School:

School Address:.

School Phone No:..

Permission to carry out the above-mentioned research is


granted

Signed: (Chairperson, Board of Trustees)

309
Appendix F9: Phase three letter to potential teacher participants

August 2007.

Dear teacher at [name of school]

As you know, from talking to you at a recent staff meeting, I have been in conversation
with the principal of your school in relation to research that I am hoping to carry out
there. This research is entitled: Barriers to School Inclusion: Cultures, Policies and
Practices. It seeks to uncover the school factors that act to exclude and marginalize
students who are disabled, or who experience difficulties with learning and/or
behaviour.

This research is part of my PhD study. I have already conducted the first two phases of
this research where I invited parents of disabled children/children who experience
difficulties with learning and behaviour to complete a web questionnaire. This
questionnaire identified specific barriers that children had experienced to being included
at school. I then interviewed approximately twelve parents all around New Zealand,
exploring in more depth some of the issues that they had raised.

As I explained at the staff meeting, I would now like to look at the issue from within
the school. I am particularly interested in answers to the following questions:

What are the barriers to mainstream school inclusion for disabled students?
Why do some schools erect barriers to the inclusion of disabled students?
How do schools erect barriers to the inclusion of disabled students?
What behaviours, beliefs, attitudes, norms and values are found in schools that
exclude and marginalize disabled students?
How can barriers to school inclusion be broken down?

During this phase of the research, data would be gathered to answer these questions in
three ways:
Semi structured interviews with some teachers
A focus group interview with some teacher aides
A focus group interview with a group of participating students over the age of
seven years.

I am particularly interested in identifying overt and covert exclusionary policies,


attitudes and practices.

I would like to invite you to participate in an interview with me. This would take
place at a time and place convenient to you. It could even occur over the phone if
you would prefer. The interview would take approximately 60 minutes

310
If you would be willing to participate, could you please complete the attached form and
leave it at the school office for me to pick up.

Kind regards

Alison Kearney
School of Curriculum and Pedagogy
Massey University College of Education
Private Bag 11222
Palmerston North
06 3569099 ext 8704
a.c.kearney@massey.ac.nz

Supervisors:
Dr Jill Bevan-Brown Dr Roseanna Bourke
School of Curriculum and Pedagogy Centre for Educational Research
Massey University College of Education Massey University College of Education
Private Bag 11222 Private Bag 11222
Palmerston North Palmerston North
Ph 06 3569099 ext 8764 Ph 06 3569099 ext 8304

Name:

I would be willing to participate in an interview for the above mentioned study.

311
Appendix F10: Phase three letter to potential teacher aide participants

August 2007

Teacher Aide
[address of school]

Dear Teacher Aide,

My name is Alison Kearney and I am a senior lecturer at Massey University College of


Education where I am involved in teaching in the pre-service teacher education
programme. I am presently working in your school gathering information for my PhD.
This is looking at barriers to the inclusion of disabled learners.

I have already conducted the first two phases of this research where I invited parents of
disabled children to complete a web questionnaire. This questionnaire identified
specific barriers that children had experienced to being included at school. I then
interviewed approximately twelve parents all around New Zealand, exploring in more
depth some of the issues that they had raised.

I would like to ask if you (along with other teacher aides in the school) would be
prepared to take part in a group interview with me. This would be at a time that
suits you all and at the school. It would involve sitting in a circle, answering
questions and giving your opinions about meeting the needs of disabled students at
school, and some of the difficulties that these students face.

I have attached an information sheet about the research so that you can see if you
would like to participate in this research.

If you want to ask me any questions about this research, you can contact me. My details
are printed below.

Whatever your decision regarding this, would you please complete the form below and
return to me in the attached reply paid envelope. I look forward to hearing from you in
the near future.

Kind regards

Alison Kearney
School of Curriculum and Pedagogy
Massey University College of Education
Private Bag 11222
Palmerston North

312
06 3569099 ext 8704
a.c.kearney@massey.ac.nz

Supervisors:
Dr Jill Bevan-Brown Dr Roseanna Bourke
School of Curriculum and Pedagogy Centre for Educational Research
Massey University College of Education Massey University College of Education
Private Bag 11222 Private Bag 11222
Palmerston North Palmerston North
Ph 06 3569099 ext 8764 Ph 06 3569099 ext 8304

...

Name:

Yes, I am happy to take part in a group interview with other


teacher aides

No, I do not want to take part in a group interview with other


teacher aides

313
Appendix F 11: Phase three letter to parents of potential focus group students

3 September 2007.

Dear Parent or Guardian,

I am writing to you to ask your permission for your son/daughter to participate in a


focus group interview as part of some research I am doing at Massey University. This
research is looking into barriers that disabled children experience to being included at
school.

I have attached an information sheet to explain the research, and to also explain what
would be involved if you agree to your child participating in this focus group interview.
If in agreement, could you please complete the consent form and return to me in the
reply paid envelope attached. This can be dropped off at the school office, or posted via
a NZ post box. The postage has been paid.

If you have any further questions at all, please dont hesitate to contact me. My contact
details are provided at the bottom of the information sheet.

Kind regards

Alison Kearney
Senior Lecturer
School of Curriculum and Pedagogy
Massey University

314
Appendix F 12: Phase three letter to interviewed teachers returning transcript

March 2008.

School of Curriculum and Pedagogy


Massey University College of Education
Private Bag 11222
Palmerston North

Dear [name of teacher],

During 2007, you agreed to take part in my PhD study looking at barriers to the school
inclusion of learners who are disabled, or who experience difficulties with learning and
behaviour, and you kindly participated in an interview with me. First of all, my sincere
apologies for not being in contact with you for so long. You may have begun to wonder
if I was still working on this project, but the answer is yes! I have transcribed all the
interviews, and enclosed a copy of your interview transcript. I have sent you a copy of
your interview transcript for you to look at (if you wish) and/or just to have as a record
of what was said. After reading through the transcript, you may feel that there are some
things that you would prefer to delete. If this is so, I have enclosed a stamped self-
addressed envelope for you to post the transcript back to me with your changes on it. I
will then make the changes, and send it back to you.

Just to clarify how I am going to use this information. I will be looking through all the
interview transcripts to identify important points. I will place a code next to each point
or theme. These points and themes will provide the basis of my discussion in my PhD
report. No quotes will be used that can identify people in any way. No names of parents,
children, teachers, principals or schools will be used.

If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Kind regards

Alison Kearney

315
Appendix G Transcriber confidentiality agreement

Barriers to School Inclusion: Cultures, Policies and


Practices

TRANSCRIBERS CONFIDENTIALITY AGREEMENT

I, (full name printed)


agree to transcribe the tapes provided to me.

I agree to keep confidential all the information provided to me.

I will not make copies of the transcripts or keep any record of them, other than those
required for the project

Signature:.. Date:.

316
Appendix H: Information for parents of support groups and services

Barriers to School Inclusion: Cultures, Policies and


Practices

Information and Support Available for Parents and Children/Young People

Perhaps as a result of talking about some of the experiences you or your child have had
at school, you feel you need to seek professional help in resolving some of these
matters. The following are a list of people and/or organizations that may be able to help
you. There may or may not be some cost involved in accessing these supports.

1. The Office of the Commissioner for Children employs duty advocates. If you
wish to contact the duty advocate in the Commissioners Office to discuss your
concerns about the interests rights or welfare of a child you can contact the
Office by phoning 0800 224453 (0800 A CHILD) or you can write to the
Commissioner at PO Box 5610 Wellington.

2. Parent legal information line for school issues (PLINFO) 0800499 488
PO Box 24005, Wellington

3. Parent Help Line Web: www.dhildforum.com/parent_help_guide.html

4. Most District Health Boards have a Child and Family Mental Health Service.
For example the contact for Mid Central Health is:
Community Health Village
Private Bag 11036
PALMERSTON NORTH
Phone: (06) 350-8373
Fax: (06) 350-8374

For other areas, refer to the blue pages at the front of your phone
book.

317
Appendix I: Digital Narrative Phase one

318